THE loss to Barangay Ginebra was a bitter pill to swallow for NLEX, but coach Boyet Fernandez sees a silver lining out of it.
“Matututo kami from here. I’m sure we’ll be a better team after this,” said Fernandez almost a week since the Road Warriors dropped a heartbreaking 91-90 loss to the Kings in a Smart Bro-PBA Philippine Cup game that saw the team squandered a commanding 22-point lead.
How quick the team learns and move from the throbbing experience will be known Saturday as NLEX plays its final game in the eliminations against Rain or Shine at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Although the 5:15 p.m. encounter has a lot more bearing for the Elasto Painters, who go for an outright berth in the semis, the Road Warriors are likewise looking for a win heading into the playoffs where they face the prospect of having to beat twice in a row their quarterfinal match up to advance.
At the same time, NLEX (4-6) is looking to snap a four-game slide after losing to Alaska, Globalport, San Miguel, and Ginebra, the last of which hurt the team’s chances to end up in the Top Six of the playoffs.
“We’ll be 0-5 if we lose against Rain or Shine. Definitely, not the way we wanted heading to the playoffs,” said Fernandez.
But Rain or Shine is also badly in need of winning as a victory meant automatically making the Final Four even if a three-way tie on top ensues among the Elasto Painters, Alaska, and league leader San Miguel.
The Aces and Elasto Painters are both tied for second place with similar 8-2 marks, just within striking distance of defending champion Beermen at 9-2.
“We work hard for this opportunity. We should not let this slip away,” said Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao.