NLEX looks to go two-zero

Olmin Leyba - The Philippine Star
NLEX looks to go two-zero
Rain or Shine import Steve Taylor Jr. lays it up versus Ginebra’s Stanley Pringle and Justin Brownlee in their game Wednesday. The Elasto Painters won, 93-71.

MANILA, Philippines — Change in plans, balik-PBA Frankie Lim won’t be making his long-awaited coaching debut for NLEX today. But the goal stays the same for the Road Warriors: gun for back-to-back wins in the Commissioner’s Cup.

Chief deputy Adonis Tierra makes another pinch-hit job as Lim serves his pending suspension from his previous PBA stint in 2015 in the 3 p.m. duel with Blackwater (1-1) at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Lim was actually supposed to sit on the bench for the first time last Sunday versus Meralco but that game was called off due to Super Typhoon Karding. As such, the suspension carries over to their next game, per commissioner Willie Marcial.

Tierra, who led the NLEX to a 96-90 win over its former mentor Yeng Guiao and Rain or Shine last Wednesday, said Lim’s imprint will already be on the way they play.

“Gusto niya fast-paced ang opensa, takbuhan ang kalaban if we have the numbers. Otherwise, we have to mix it up dahil may mga half-court sets naman kami,” said Tierra.

If they get the desired result, the Road Warriors will not only draw level with the Bay Area Dragons (2-0) at the summit but also build momentum before Lim starts calling the shots on Oct. 8 against Phoenix.

Looking to throw a wrench on NLEX’ plans are the Bossing, who are back on track after opening the tournament with a 46-point beatdown from the Dragons. With Baser Amer, import Cameron Krutwig, and recent trade acquisitions Troy Rosario and Gab Banal providing the heroics, Blackwater secured a 97-85 bounceback verdict over the Fuel Masters Saturday.

“We really got embarrassed last game (versus Bay Area). That woke us up,” said Blackwater mentor Ariel Vanguardia. “But we’re still a work in progress in terms of chemistry.”

Meanwhile, Meralco opens its campaign in the mid-season tournament against NorthPort (1-1) in the 5:45 p.m. main match.

The Bolts brought in former NBA player Johnny O’Bryant to plug in the hole in the paint as they continue their chase for a franchise breakthrough after narrowly missing a finals stint in the last All-Filipino.

They shoot for a winning start against the Batang Pier’s new-look crew of holdovers Robert Bolick, Arwind Santos and Roi Sumang, second-time import Prince Ibeh and new arrivals Arvin Tolentino, Jeff Chan, Prince Caperal and Kent Salado.


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