NLEX Road Warriors Coach Yeng Guiao said in the ongoing Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) PH Cup, which rebooted last Wednesday, September 1, at the Don Honorio Ventura State University Gym in Bacolor town, squads seeing action in Season 46 are actually waging a battle in two fronts amid the raging pandemic, the very foul that led the league to its Pampanga journey anew, after the first bubble in Clark Freeport recently.
"We have two fronts to battle other than opposing teams. We have to battle the virus itself; staying negative from the virus is as important as competing itself. You are only as good as your last swab test," Guiao shared in a post on the PBA website.
Guiao noted that all the teams have yet to recover fully from the long layoff, with the floor shut down starting August 4, 2021, as the virus swept the NCR+ again, this time with another variant enemy to guard and block, resulting in lockdown after lockdown.
"It's a struggle just trying to get back rhythm and timing, but I know all other teams have the same problem. The excitement of the resumption of the games more than compensates for the difficulties we encounter," said Guiao.
And as the Road Warriors sans ace guard Kiefer Ravena faced the Alaska Aces in the first battle of two games slated yesterday, September 2, Guiao said that the game goes on with remaining backcourt players, led by Kevin Alas and Jericho Cruz, to step into Ravena's shoes.
The main frontcourt, Guiao added, would see JR Quinahan, Raul Soyud and Michael Miranda in a tangle with Alaska's main frontcourt weapons, Yousef Taha and Abu Tratter.
"This is also a character check for us since we are trying to cope with the absence of our top player in Kiefer Ravena," said Guiao of Ravena, who has notched four-game averages of 15.75 points, anchored on a league-leading 42.3 percent clip from beyond the arc, 6.5 assists, 3.75 rebounds and 1.75 steals.
Should the Road Warriors show little ill effects of a long layoff and crack battle-hardened Alaska, they would improve to a 3-2 record, solidify their spot among the top eight and enhance their chances of hitting their initial target of making the quarterfinals.
"I have high hopes that we can perform creditably under these trying circumstances," said Guiao. (JTD)