MANY have taken notice of NLEX’s surge in the PBA Philippine Cup, among them Alaska coach Jeffrey Cariaso.
“Aside from Magnolia, NLEX is the hottest team in the league right now,” Cariaso said of the Road Warriors, who have won three straight. “They are flowing well and they have hit their groove.”
Cariaso might as well have been talking about the Aces too since they have won six of their last eight to make it to the quarterfinals.
Which between NLEX and Alaska can sustain their charge would be known today when they clash in a match-up that has a lot riding on it at the Smart 5G-powered AUF Sports Arena in Angeles City.
Phoenix Super LPG tries to make it three in a row and move closer to a top four slot when it takes on freefalling Blackwater while Ginebra tackles also-ran Terrafirma in the nightcap.
The game marks the last outing in the eliminations for the Aces and they would want nothing more than to come out with another victory to get to the top four, a seat which carries with it a win-once advantage in the next round.
Victories by the Road Warriors today and against Terrafirma at elims end on Wednesday should send them to the last eight. A split could be costly as they would drop into a tie for the last quarterfinals berth and perhaps lose out in the tie-breaking quotient.
NLEX coach Yeng Guiao welcomed the pressure, saying: “This could be our biggest game in the bubble so far.
“We’ve been playing well lately but so has Alaska. They play a solid, balanced game and that means putting together a sound gameplan because it’s not about stopping one or two guys, but more of which team executes better on both ends.”
The Road Warriors just did in waylaying defending champion San Miguel Beer 124-90 last Friday, capping a stretch in which they pulled the rug from under erstwhile top two teams TNT and Rain or Shine.