NLEX needs to put behind what Yeng Guiao describes as an ‘embarrassing loss’ to Rain or Shine and put its focus instead in the coming PBA Governors Cup playoffs.
Guiao lamented how the Road Warriors appeared to have lost the fight the moment they enjoyed a 46-30 lead in the second quarter.
For him it was the beginning of the end for his team.
“We felt that after leading them, the guys probably thought they will have an easy sailing going to the third and fourth quarter. That’s when the mental trap is,” said Guiao following NLEX’s 107-101 loss to also-ran Rain or Shine at the end of the two teams’ elimination round campaign Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“We fell into that mental trap. When we had a good double-digit lead, the guys felt it was a won game. That’s the worst thing you can do at that situation.”
Aside from losing a 16-point lead in the first half, NLEX also lost to a Rain or Shine team that played without import Terrence Watson and guard Maverick Ahanmisi.
Watson already went back to the U.S. last week after his wife recently gave birth, while Ahanmisi was down with a viral infection.
The Elasto Painters (3-8) was also without injured Beau Belga and the suspended Raymond Almazan.
The Road Warriors ended their campaign with a 5-6 record and will either wind up as the seventh or eighth seeded team in the quarterfinals, which meant meeting any among reigning champion Barangay Ginebra, Magnolia Pambansang Manok, or Alaska and needing to win twice over to advance.
In as much as the Road Warriors wanted to go out with a win, Guiao said they just need to regroup now and prepare for the coming playoffs which start next week.
“We just have to focus on the quarterfinals and try to forget this game as quickly as we can,” said the NLEX coach.
“We just not let it hanging in our memory while we prepare for our quarterfinal game.”