PBA Preview: NLEX driven to sustain gains as Road Warriors already hitting stride under Yeng Guiao
Kiefer Ravena's addition gives NLEX more confidence to sustain momentum from a strong finish last season. Warren Salvacion

NLEX Road Warriors

Roster: Emman Monfort, Juami Tiongson, Jansen Rios, Kevin Alas, Cyrus Baguio, Alex Mallari, Larry Fonacier, Raul Soyud, Kenneth Ighalo, Rabeh Al-Hussaini, Alfonso Gotladera, JR Quiñahan, Asi Taulava

Key additions: Kiefer Ravena, Michael Miranda

Significant losses: Carlo Lastimosa, Jonas Villanueva, Enrico Villanueva (retired)

IT took NLEX a long while before finding its stride under head coach Yeng Guiao.

Now the Road Warriors look to sustain the gains from last season's superb Governors' Cup run that saw them barge into the playoffs after a forgettable first two conferences.

The addition of highly-touted rookie Kiefer Ravena even gives NLEX more confidence to surpass a quarterfinal finish when they see action in the All-Filipino conference starting Wednesday.

Picked second by the team in the recent draft, Ravena boasts a stellar resume, having played numerous times for the national team.

But despite his rich international experience, Ravena has yet to get the hang of playing in the PBA. 

Still, Guiao believes the adjustment won't take long.

"I know he's been playing with a lot of top players in the national team, in different leagues, pero iba par in talaga yung alam mong dito ka na magse-settle down talaga nung career mo. So kailangan makapag-adjust pa rin siya," Guiao said.

"But it's not going to be very difficult for him. Palagay ko by opening day, he would have adjusted to our system. He'll be playing like a veteran by the time we play our first games." 

It's not all Ravena, though, as the rest of his wards are also stepping up their game.

During the PBA preseason tournament, the veteran tactician also made special mention of Asi Taulava, who has proven he still has plenty of gas left in his tank.

“Si Asi maganda nilalaro. Siguro pwede pa siya i-sign up ng mga limang taon, pwede pa siguro," Guiao said in jest. "No but kidding aside, Asi's been playing well in the series." 

With the youngest and the oldest in the squad in tow, the season looks promising for the Road Warriors.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @janbballesteros