THEY win as a team, they lose as a team.
Yeng Guiao isn’t about to put the blame for NLEX’s first setback in the PBA Philippine Cup on one man, stressing the 102-95 defeat at the hands of Phoenix on Sunday was a collective failure to crash the boards, especially on the offensive end.
The Fuel Masters and Road Warriors were almost on equal footing in terms of rebounds, which Phoenix won, 58-55. But as Guiao noted, the opposition had more in terms of offensive boards, 19-10, which it translated into 22 second-chance points compared to just nine for NLEX.
That discrepancy, more than Kiefer Ravena’s dismal plays, was what cost NLEX the game, according to Guiao.
“We lost it as a team. Yung offensive rebounding, that’s not just Kiefer’s responsibility. That’s almost one hundred percent difference, 19 to 10,” the NLEX coach pointed out. “Offensive rebounding numbers were not really the fault of Kiefer alone. It’s a team thing and we have to take responsibility for that as a team.”
After an amazing first two games with the Road Warriors where he averaged 19.0 points, 8.5 assists, and 4.5 rebounds, Ravena, the No. 2 overall pick in the last draft, was held to just eight points, one rebound, and seven assists.
He also shot a poor 4-of-13 from the field and missed both his two free throws.
But Guiao wasn’t about to go hard on the 24-year-old rookie.
“I’m not concerned about Kiefer’s off-night. He will have his off-nights, that’s natural, normal for a basketball player especially for a rookie,” the champion coach said. “I don’t want to put any more pressure on him by putting those kinds of expectations.”
The temperamental coach also shrugged off the four free throws Ravena and Juami Tiongson missed at the height of a searing NLEX comeback.
“They’re not poor free throw shooters. They’re very decent from the free throw line. But those things happen,” Guiao explained. “But what cannot happen is for you to lose second-chance points and offensive rebounding by that big a gap.”