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Sports

Student meets teacher

SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson - The Philippine Star

For seven PBA seasons, Frankie Lim played for coach Tim Cone at Alaska. Last Friday, they were reintroduced to each other with Lim coaching NLEX and Cone at the Barangay Ginebra helm. It was a bit surreal for Lim because the last PBA team he coached before joining NLEX this conference was Ginebra and that was in the 2015 Commissioner’s Cup.

Before the PhilSports Arena game, Lim asked the Road Warriors in the lockerroom to seize the moment. “I get challenged and motivated when I go up against a strong opponent like Ginebra,” he said. “I told the guys it’s a test for you, of your capability and if you win, it’s a good feeling and very rewarding. I compared Ginebra to Gilas because they’re just as tough. If you beat them, masaya tayong lahat.”

Lim said he’s aware of Ginebra’s crowd support. “Buti na lang not too many fans came out,” he chuckled. “But I try to focus only on the game. I know coach Tim well, I know how he works, how he motivates his team so you just throw in your best. He doesn’t shoot, I don’t shoot kaya parehas lang nasa sideline kami. After the game, he told me good job, Frank and I said thanks.”

Lim admitted he went to a short rotation out of necessity. Five Road Warriors logged at least 34 minutes with Earl Clark, Don Trollano and Kevin Alas playing more than 40 each. “I wanted to match up with their strength,” he said. “After their starting five, their second group is as strong so I stuck with my main guys. We came off a timeout with Ginebra up by two and a few seconds left in regulation. We drew up a play for Earl to go one-on-one. Earl made the shot and we went into OT. Before we started OT, I told the guys to stay focused. I credit my coaching staff for scouting Ginebra well, we anticipated their go-to plays, their moves. We wouldn’t have won without our assistant coaches Borgie (Hermida), Adonis (Tierra), Emman (Monfort), Jigs (Mendoza), Ford (Arao) and my son Melo who helps out but isn’t officially with the team.”

Lim said the win was dedicated to team official Ronald Dulatre who celebrated his birthday the day before. The Road Warriors sang “Happy Birthday” in the dugout. “I appreciate it very much,” said Dulatre. “The team just rebounded from a terrible loss against Terrafirma and they were very determined to win against Ginebra.” Lim said the OT setback to the Dyip was painful. “Kevin couldn’t play and we were undermanned,” he said. “It’s been tough all conference. Don and Matt (Nieto) sat out two games each.  JR (Quinahan) and Tony (Semerad) haven’t played at all.  Earl’s a great import, he listens. He gets a little frustrated because he sees how much stronger the other teams are. But we’re still battling. Our last game in the eliminations is against Meralco on Wednesday.”

Lim said he was drained after the Ginebra contest, NLEX’ second OT in a row. Brownlee scored 39 points in 50:49 minutes and Clark, 37 in 48:26. The imports neutralized each other, leaving the door open for the locals to settle the outcome. Trollano sizzed for 26 points, Alas 18, Brandon Ganuelas Rosser 11 and Nieto 10. Brownlee went 0-of-5 in OT and Ginebra shot only 18.2 percent from the floor in the last five minutes as NLEX pulled away to win, 120-117.

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