Northern Luzon Expressway (NLEX) tries to move closer to snatching a quarterfinals seat with a win against Blackwater today in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Season 42 Governor’s Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.
The Road Warriors, who are coming off an impressive 100-94 win over Meralco last Sunday, shoot for their sixth win in seven games in their 7 p.m. encounter with the Elite.
In the opener, the Bolts try to bounce back from a loss against Phoenix at 4:15 p.m.
Pitted against a lower-ranked squad, NLEX coach Yeng Guiao reminds his players not to be overconfident against the Elite.
“I think that’s the biggest mistake that you can make if you go into a game and approach it like you’ve already won it, so we don’t want it to be our state of mind. I think we have to work hard and guard ourselves not to be overconfident against Blackwater,” Guiao told The Manila Times.
Guiao said their goal is to grab the twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals that’s why they need each game badly.
“We are just trying to get into the top four, so the magic number might be eight or seven wins to assure you of a quarterfinal berth. Eight is assured of twice-to-beat, I think,” he added.
Behind the solid plays of import Aaron Fuller and Kevin Alas, the Road Warriors are enjoying their best start after a forgettable first two conferences under Guiao.
And NLEX got more experience after the acquisition of Cyrus Baguio in a three-team trade the other day. The Road Warriors lost Mac Baracael in that deal.
Fuller is averaging 25 points and 19.6 rebounds in the tournament while Alas was instrumental in their five wins, almost sweeping the Best Player of the Game honors during that stretch.
Blackwater returned to its winning ways after a 92-86 win over Phoenix to snap a three-game losing skid behind the 32-point, 15-rebound and five-assist effort from new import Henry Walker, who used to play for NLEX.
Meanwhile, Meralco guns for a bounce-back win against the Fuel Masters.
The Bolts will bank on import Allen Durham who is averaging 24.4 points, 18.6 rebounds and 7.2 assists in five games.
Phoenix is parading a pair of new recruits in Dylan Ababou and Jeff Chan. Chan was acquired through a trade with Rain or Shine for Mark Borboran and a 2020 second round pick early this week.
The Fuel Masters will also be fielding standby import Brandon Brown as Eugene Phelps is nursing an injured left foot.
After a 2-0 start, Phoenix has dropped its last three assignment.