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Sports

NLEX, ROS dispute 8th spot

Olmin Leyba - The Philippine Star
NLEX, ROS dispute 8th spot
Ryan Pearson
PBA image

MANILA, Philippines — NLEX and Rain or Shine take one last shot at the remaining seat in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinals today in an intriguing kill-or-be-killed duel between the former and current teams of coach Yeng Guiao.

Game time is at 6:30 p.m. at the PhilSports Arena with the top-seeded Bay Area Dragons watching intently from afar awaiting their Final-8 opposition.

For ROS and Guiao, it’s “take two” after failing to qualify outright Friday night, no thanks to a 106-90 loss to Magnolia that dragged them to a tie for eighth with NLEX at 5-7.

“It was a learning experience. Now, we look forward to another chance to make it to the next round with the game on Sunday,” said Guiao, looking to steer the Elasto Painters into the playoffs in his first tournament back at the helm.

For NLEX and coach Frankie Lim, being in this do-or-die is a welcome opportunity after teetering on the brink of elimination.

“Masaya ‘to,” he said.

The Road Warriors kept their hopes alive with back-to-back wins over Barangay Ginebra (120-117) and Meralco (92-81) ending the elims then got a helping hand from Magnolia to get to this stage.

“I’m dying to be in the playoffs. Once we got the opportunity, I’m super hyped, couldn’t sleep,” said import Earl Clark, who was actually recruited by Guiao last August when he was still with NLEX.

Guiao’s affiliation with ROS’ opponent makes this showdown even more interesting.

“I don’t want to dwell on personal circumstances or on past relationships, my former players, my former assistant coaches being there. It’s just another game, another chance for us to make the next round,” stressed Guiao.

“Ito kasing team namin, three conferences nang hindi nakakapasok ng quarterfinals so if we make it, it will be an improvement.”

The KO match marks the first coaching matchup between Guiao and his successor at NLEX. Lim, then newly-installed, gave the floor to assistant coach Adonis Tierra when the Road Warriors met Guiao’s E-Painters the first time last Sept. 23 and came out victorious, 96-90.

While twice-to-beat Bay Area’s opponent is still being determined, the rest of the quarterfinal matchups are already set.

No. 2 and twice-to-beat Magnolia faces No. 7 Phoenix while No. 3 Ginebra dukes it out with No. 6 NorthPort, and No. 4 Converge battles No. 5 San Miguel Beer in a pair of best-of-three contests.

PBA COMMISSIONER’S CUP

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