THE very team that failed to advance in the last two conferences is now on the verge of becoming the first to clinch a twice-to-beat advantage in the PBA Governors’ Cup.
“Our mission is to get wins asap,” said Road Warriors coach Yeng Guiao in a text message to People’s Journal yesterday.
The Road Warriors, who struggled in the cellar in the Philippine Cup and Commissioner’s Cup, have two chances to accomplish that. One is against Talk ‘N Text which they will play today, and against Star Hotshots at the close of the elimination round on Sept. 24.
“Two tough games to accomplish that. TNT is the first big hurdle,” said Guiao, referring to the 7 p.m. meeting at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.
At 7-2, the Road Warriors could clinch the first of two slots offering twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinal round, by putting one over on sister team KaTropa.
The Road Warriors won in their last outing, beating Globalport, 109-99, last September 3 in a game where their import in Aaron Fuller knocked in 33 points and grabbed 20 rebounds.
The KaTropa likewise triumphed in their last outing against sister team Meralco, 113-107, but face some serious problem on adjustment with the transfer to other team of Ranidel De Ocampo, whose exit could probably create some vacuum in offense.
“We hope the RDO trade is going to create some adjustment issues that can work to our advantage,” said Guiao.
TNT KaTropa on Monday shipped De Ocampo to Phoenix in a stunning trade that ended their partnership built through years of winning championships.
In return, TNT got the rights to Norbert Torres and the Fuel Masters’ 2017 first round pick.
The Fuel Masters then dealt De Ocampo to Meralco for fellow big man Justin Chua and the Bolts’ first round pick in the coming draft.
As for Guiao, he admitted their concern in playing the KaTropa is not limited to De Ocampo.
“We need to pay attention to defending Jayson (Castro), Roger Pogoy, and their import to increase our chances of being the first team to make the twice to beat advantage,” stressed Guiao. “This is the homestretch and we need the toughness to sustain our drive.”
Rain or Shine and Phoenix collide in the first game at 4:15 p.m., with the former looking to bounce back from a 103-96 loss to San Miguel Beer last week.