Road Warriors collide with Gutang, Koreans

Justin Gutang will get to test his mettle against familiar faces when his Korean club — Changwon LG Sakers — battles NLEX in a friendly duel that serves as preparation for the Korean Basketball League and Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup.

Gutang, the former College of Saint Benilde ace, is tipped to power the LG Sakers in their 4 p.m. match against the Road Warriors on Wednesday at Kerry Sports inside the Shangri-La Fort Manila.

Aside from Gutang, who signed a one-year contract with the Korean club as part of the Asian Players Quota, the LG Sakers will also parade National Basketball Association veteran Dante Cunningham.

It’s going to be the Road Warriors’ second straight tune-up match after battling the Bay Area Dragons, the Hong Kong-based club that will see action as guest team in the PBA, last week.

The Dragons will be first foreign squad to play in the PBA since the 2003 Invitational Championship when former commissioner Noli Eala accepted KK Novi Sad from Yugoslavia, Yonsei University of South Korea and Magnolia-Jilin Tigers from China as guest squads.

The Dragons are also looking to become the second guest team to win a PBA title since the 1980 Nicholas Stoodley team from the United States and bannered by former PBA imports Kenny Tyler and Larry Pounds.

Unlike the Bay Area Dragons, however, the LG Sakers are not preparing either for the PBA or the East Asia Super League, yet they believe in the competitive brand of play that professional teams in the Philippines can offer.

Noted player agent Charlie Dy helped facilitate LG Sakers’ tune up game against the Road Warriors, who pushed Andrew Nicholson, Miles Powell and the Dragons to the limit despite the absence of Anthony Semerad, Philip Paniamogan and JR Quinahan.

The Road Warriors also drew decent games from former Los Angeles Laker Earl Clark as well as Gilas Pilipinas stalwart Calvin Oftana, Kevin Alas, Justin Chua and Don Trollano.

NLEX interim coach Adonis Tierra said they are still trying to figure things out following the departure of Yeng Guiao to Rain or Shine.

The Road Warriors had made it to the playoffs the past three conferences, but Tierra is hoping the team can reach the semifinals again.

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