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Sports

Lim targets finals for NLEX

Joaquin Henson - The Philippine Star
Lim targets finals for NLEX
Frankie Lim.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — After a seven-year absence from the PBA, Frankie Lim returns to coach NLEX and marks his debut with the Road Warriors against Phoenix today. He takes over from interim coach Adonis Tierra who steered the team to a 2-0 record in the Commissioner’s Cup.

“I’m very excited and of course, the target is to reach the finals,” said Lim whose previous head coaching stint was in the 2015 Commissioner’s Cup with Ginebra. “Last conference, we almost made it to the semis. From the first day of practice, I liked the players, the composition of the team. Maybe, tweak a few things, add a couple of players for firepower and I know we’ll be competitive. I’m looking forward to playing the big teams. I’d like to see how far I can take my team against them.”

For Lim, it’s like a “small reunion” at NLEX. Assistant coach Borgie Hermida and Tony Semerad played for Lim when he coached San Beda to an NCAA sweep in 2010. He grew up with Tierra in San Juan. Lim had a hand in drafting Asi Taulava for Mobiline in 1999. When Lim was a Purefoods assistant coach, he went on a US trip with the team as a reward for winning the 1997 All-Filipino crown and the group included Eric Altamirano, Louie Alas and son Kevin who was only five and now plays for NLEX.

Lim said NLEX import Earl Clark has a lot to do with the Road Warriors’ early surge. “Swabe at pinong maglaro, dala sa experience playing in the NBA and overseas,” he said. “Earl knows when to attack, is a willing passer, doesn’t force shots, has a good disposition, can defend, has good timing and makes good decisions. He played the wing in the NBA and I’ve prepared a system that will fit him. Earl knows how to manage his game. Against Rain or Shine, he had three fouls in the first five minutes. He was too aggressive and got into foul trouble so he sat on the bench for a while. Earl had only five points at the half but ended up with 26, 14 rebounds, six blocks and the three fouls from the first quarter.”

When NLEX faces Magnolia on Oct. 12, Lim jokingly said he’ll approach Calvin Abueva and say, “Remember me? I’m back.” Lim and Abueva figured in an altercation during the last Ginebra outing in 2015 and caused a one-game suspension which the coach served this conference. “’Di ko na matandaan kung anong nangyari,” chuckled Lim, a six-time PBA champion as a player. Alas said he can’t wait to play for Lim. “Noong nasa Letran ako, three years ‘di namin natalo San Beda with coach Frankie so it’s good that we’re finally on the same side,” the star guard said.

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