by Jonas Terrado
Ejections have become a rarity for coach Yeng Guiao since moving to the NLEX Road Warriors at the start of the season.
But when the fiery mentor got an early exit after receiving his second technical foul with 4:19 left in their game against the Kia Picanto last Saturday, nobody was surprised.
Guiao immediately went to the press room of the Mall of Asia Arena to watch on television the remaining minutes of the contest won by his Road Warriors, 100-93, marking the first time in his tenure that his team has started 2-0 in a conference.
“I was so excited I came to this room early. Nagpa-dalawang technical na lang ako para makasama ko kayo agad,” Guiao told reporters in jest.
Guiao is starting to smile again after seeing NLEX go on a rare winning streak. The Road Warriors have been victorious in their last four games dating back to the latter part of the Commissioner’s Cup as they’re slowly erasing the losing mentality that hounded them in Guiao’s first two conferences with the team.
At presstime, the Road Warriors are tied for the early lead with the Phoenix Fuel Masters in the PBA Governors’ Cup, showing promising signs of a potential rise from a mediocre squad to a playoff contender.
Guiao, however, would rather ease the expectations at this point.
“If we can get a few more wins, I guess maglalakas-loob kami, baka mag-ambisyon kami na mag-semis,” Guiao said. “Sa ngayon, wala pa kasi yun. We just want a good win, to win one game at a time.”
The trades that Guiao made in the Commissioner’s Cup are starting to benefit NLEX. JR Quiñahan, Larry Fonacier and Alex Mallari have been solid additions and are meshing well with Kevin Alas, Juami Tiongson and Rabeh Al-Hussaini.
The Road Warriors are also getting significant contributions from import Aaron Fuller, who has been hailed for his activity on both ends of the floor. He is averaging 27 points and 19.5 rebounds after two games.
“We’re just looking at our import if he’s the right guy for us. All those positives are being reinforced with the wins that we’re getting,” said Guiao.