July 25, 2022

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NLEX’s Guiao targets equalizer in quarter series with Magnolia

NLEX coach Yeng Guiao remains upbeat even as the Road Warriors face a win-or-go-home situation in their PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinal series against Magnolia.

The Hotshots, led by Mark Barroca’s milestone-clinching 24 points, took Sunday’s opener, 98-89, pushing NLEX to the brink in the race-to-two contest.

“Beterano sila (Magnolia) pagdating sa diskarte, sa pagbasa ng sitwasyon, sa pag-finish ng pressure game, Lamang talaga sila sa experience. But I’m not in a panic mode. I’m not worried,” said Mr. Guiao as he shifts focus to the targeted equalizer in Friday’s Game 2.

To have better chances of pulling this caper off, the Road Warriors need their backcourt aces Kevin Alas and Kris Rosales to be back in the fold after sitting out Game 1 due to health and safety protocols.

Mr. Guiao expects the duo to be good to go in the must-win second match and provide the antidote to Barroca and the rest of the Hotshots’ speedy guard line.

In a similar survival predicament is Barangay Ginebra, which surrendered a 93-82 loss to hungry Meralco in their own series kickoff.

“We just didn’t play well in every facet of the game,” lamented coach Tim Cone. “Good news is, we have time to prepare and work on it. So we’ll spend four days trying to get ready for Game 2. After that, we’ll see what happens.” — Olmin Leyba