NLEX coach Yeng Guiao is in survival mode in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup with Kiefer Ravena serving out a Fiba-imposed 18-month doping suspension.
“In the meantime, we will just scrape the bottom of the barrel ika nga and try to survive as long as we can. We haven’t really planned anything yet because the situation of Kiefer surprised us. Nagulat kami. Wala naman kaming preparation. Siguro ganun muna,” said Guiao.
With Ravena joining injured Kevin Alas on the sidelines, Guiao acknowledged making it to the playoffs of the midseason conference will be a tall task for the Road Warriors.
“Mahirap mag-survive without Kevin and Kiefer. But we will talk with management. We will talk with the coaching staff and see how we can salvage the situation. Wala pa kaming plano,” said Guiao.
“We actually felt really bad as a team. Everybody knows he is a key player in this team, and his suspension really has a profound effect on everyone. But our focus right now is moving forward or moving on without Kiefer for the meantime, and just keep ourselves in the race.”
The Road Warriors beat winless Blackwater on Wednesday to improve to 2-4, good for ninth place in the standings. But Guiao knows his team faces a long, uphill climb.
While Arnett Moultrie, Juami Tiongson, and Alex Mallari put on their usual numbers, Guiao lauded the effort of subs Jansen Rios, Emman Monfort, and Kenneth Ighalo, who combined for 18 points in the win over the Elite.
“This will kinda give us a little hope in our quest for at least a chance at the quarterfinals. We are trying to get something out of everybody. Pinipiga namin ‘yung ibang hindi masyadong nakakalaro,” said Guiao.
“Si Jansen Rios played a really good game, gave us quality minutes for us today. Kenneth Ighalo, Emman Monfort, just mentioning those guys who need to come off the bench and pick up the slack left by Kiefer and Kevin,” he said.