NLEX Road Warriors and TnT Tropang Giga eye early semi-final entry

By Olmin Leyba

FOR the No. 2 seed NLEX and No. 3 TnT, now is the time to capitalize on the winning quarterfinal incentives they’ve worked so hard to get back into the eliminations and advance.

The Road Warriors and Tropang Giga are aiming for a quick entry into the semi-finals of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Governors Cup as they open their post-playoff campaigns on Wednesday against their lower-ranked but emotional opponents at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

NLEX challenger No. 7 Alaska is determined to extend the franchise’s farewell PBA outing to at least one more game as TnT rival No. 6 Barangay Ginebra is determined to maintain his title defense and to avenge his dethronement of the Philippine Cup by the Tropang Giga in previous quarters.

“Alaska would definitely like to come out in a burst of glory, so it’s a big motivation to have to get into the game,” NLEX coach Yeng Guiao said, anticipating a close fight as opposed to their 106 blowout. -89 in the playoffs.

“That means it’s going to be high intensity and they’re going to be very aggressive. We will therefore have to carve out a victory. »

Cameron Clark makes his NLEX debut in the 3 p.m. match, looking to pick up where original import KJ McDaniels left off after a stellar playoff run.

Aces counterpart Jeff Cariaso said when faced with a win-or-go-home situation, his charges are laser-focused on the immediate task.

“We know the task at hand is a more difficult path with a double disadvantage. But it’s not impossible at all,” he said. “Focusing on being ready and bringing our A-game is our priority.”

Meanwhile, TnT’s mentor, Chot Reyes, views the 6 p.m. match with Tim Cone and Ginebra as a dogfight.

“We’re playing the team with resident Best Import (Justin Brownlee) so we have to be ready,” Mr Reyes said. “It will take much, much more defensive effort for us to be able to beat a team like Ginebra.”

Mr Cone said the Gin Kings made the most of the 10-day gap between their last game and this one to get into playoff form.

“We know we have a tough battle (against TnT) but the guys feel they’ve been playing better lately and their confidence is high,” he said. “We will be ready.”

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