WHETHER NLEX is for real or not is set to be known as it takes on Barangay Ginebra on Saturday when the PBA Governors’ Cup goes on the road at the Calasiao Sports Complex in Pangasinan.
After facing midtable clubs in their first four games, the Road Warriors take on an acid test in the defending champion Gin Kings at 5 p.m. staking their unbeaten record and their grip on the top spot.
“Tingnan natin kung totoo ito or nagpapanggap lang kami talaga,” NLEX coach Yeng Guiao said after their 95-91 win over Phoenix last Sunday. “Pero maganda naman ang senyales.”
“Tingnan natin sa next games. The elite teams are coming up,” he added. “Let's see how we fare against them.”
First up are the Gin Kings, who have welcomed back Greg Slaughter to the fold and have shown better chemistry with the star slotman in their last two games, which they have won after starting their title defense on the wrong foot.
Still, Gin Kings coach Tim Cone is bracing for a brave stand from the Road Warriors, who have finally shown the character that Guiao teams usually display as they are amid their best start in franchise history after finishing dead last in the first two conferences.
“We know there's going to be a big battle; it's a tough one for us,” Cone said. “They're playing very good basketball, confident basketball.”
“Any time a team is undefeated, they're there for a reason, it's not tsamba,” he added. “All Yeng Guiao teams are always tough.”
NLEX’s no-frills import, Aaron Fuller, matches up against the Gin Kings’ do-it-all reinforcement Brownlee, while Kevin Alas and Alex Mallari lead the Road Warriors’ backcourt against their Ginebra counterparts LA Tenorio and Scottie Thompson.