TNT Katropa just made NLEX miss all the more the explosive backcourt of Kiefer Ravena and Kevin Alas on Sunday.
Yeng Guiao admitted the Road Warriors failed to match the Katropa firepower for firepower in a 117-106 loss at the Mall of Asia Arena that further dampened their hopes for a playoffs berth in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
Guiao said the obvious lack of personnel heavily told on his team especially in the homestretch when the Road Warriors just couldn’t sustain their rally from as many as a 21-point deficit in the opening half.
“You still feel frustrated, you still feel angry at not being able to close it out very well because the last four or five minutes we still had the chance to win the game,” he explained.
“But kulang lang talaga kami sa firepower. When you play a team with a lot of offensive weapons like TnT, that’s the time you really miss Kiefer, you really miss Kevin,” he said.
Alex Mallari found his range in the fourth quarter as the Road Warriors made one final push, 110-106, with 2:34 left in the game.
It proved to the final stand of NLEX though, as TnT closed out the game by scoring seven straight unanswered points.
“Our guys tried their best. We are still adjusting with the absence, but we need to adjust quick because we only have four games left and if we want to give ourselves a chance, we can’t lose a single game anymore,” said Guiao after the Road Warriors absorbed their fifth loss in seven outings.
And the path to another playoffs stint doesn’t look smooth for the Road Warriors as they have to face defending champion San Miguel, Barangay Ginebra, Magnolia, and Alaska.
The window of opportunity may be closing, but Guiao still sees a little ray of hope.
“You really need to win all to really be assured of a (playoffs) slot. So those are really strong teams, and if you look at the situation parang medyo mahirap na,” said the NLEX coach. “But we’re not losing hope.”
And everything starts with the Road Warriors accepting the reality Ravena and Alas will never be back again for this season.
“We have to find a way to psychologically move forward without those two,” said Guiao.