by Jonas Terrado
Games Wednesday (Mall of Asia Arena)
4:30 p.m. – Columbian vs Rain or Shine
7 p.m. – San Miguel vs Meralco
NLEX coach Yeng Guiao called on the Road Warriors to play with a sense of urgency or face the prospect of an early exit after opening their PBA Commissioner’s Cup campaign with three consecutive losses.
The Road Warriors’ woes continued Wednesday when they absorbed a 106-90 loss to the Meralco Bolts at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, prompting Guiao to describe their predicament as an “emergency situation.”
“If we don’t pick it up in the next few games, I guess we will be looking forward to the next conference,” said Guiao. “It’s disappointing because we played so well in the last conference. We’ve been making progress steadily and then we come to this so it’s not what we’ve expected.”
Expectations were high going into the midseason tournament after NLEX made an impressive run in the Philippine Cup by making the semifinals for the first time in franchise history.
But the Road Warriors had to start the conference without original choice Arnett Moultrie, who encountered problems during his last stint with Al Muharraq in Bahrain. NLEX played with Adrian Forbes when it fell 123-103 to Columbian in its opening assignment.
Moultrie eventually got to play for the Road Warriors, but his debut ended in a heartbreaking 98-97 loss to the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters last Wednesday.
The Road Warriors encountered another slow start two nights later against the Bolts and were forced to play catch up the rest of the way despite Moultrie finishing with 25 points, 17 rebounds, five assists, four steals and two blocks.
“It’s just our sense of urgency and taking care of the basketball and executing our plays,” said Moultrie. “We got to limit our turnovers, play a little hard, pay attention to detail and execute the coach’s game plan.”
NLEX won’t see action until Friday, when it travels to the Alonte Sports Arena in Binan, Laguna to face Phoenix.
Phoenix was facing Magnolia in yesterday’s PBA doubleheader at the Mall of Asia Arena. The Fuel Masters entered that match carrying an even 1-1 record.