NLEX begins life momentarily without head coach Yeng Guaio when it plays Talk ‘N Text in the opener of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Governors’ Cup on 17 August at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo City.
The Road Warriors battle the KaTropa at 7 p.m. right after the 4:30 p.m. match between Columbian Dyip and Meralco.
Unfortunately for NLEX, it will also miss the services of veteran big man Asi Taulava.
Guiao and Taulava are in Jakarta, Indonesia to lead the Philippine men’s national basketball team in its 18th Asian Games campaign.
The two are expected to miss the Road Warriors’ camp at least until 21 August which is the end of the preliminary round. Should the Philippines manage to advance and go deep into the Asiad basketball contention slated until 1 September, Guiao and Taulava will miss up to five games.
Nevertheless, NLEX is in good hands as Guiao tasked top deputies Adonis Tierra and Jojo Lastimosa to man the bench while he is serving as the national team mentor.
Also, the Road Warriors are expected to get a lift from import Olu Oshaulu who came over as early as the Commissioner’s Cup when he even played the last elimination game in lieu of import Arnett Moultrie.
To bolster its backcourt that is still missing injured Kevin Alas and suspended Kiefer Ravena, NLEX tapped former Columbian Dyip players Bong Galanza and Philip Paniamogan.
However, the Road Warriors will still have their hands full against an intact TNT squad bannered by returning import Mike Glover alongside Jayson Castro, Troy Rosario, Terrence Romeo, Kelly Williams and Roger Pogoy.
TNT is eager to bounce back in the season-ending conference after an early Commissioner’s Cup exit against San Miguel with a quarterfinal loss.
In the other game, reigning
Best Import of the Governors’ Cup Allen Durham is expected to come out strong anew for Meralco against PBA first timer Akeem Wright of Columbian Dyip.
With Durham, the Bolts are keen on coming back in the Finals of the season-ending conference for the third straight time to exorcise their back-to-back Finals losses against rival Barangay Ginebra.
All other teams also plunge back to action in the first week of the PBA season-ending conference except Ginebra and San Miguel which were coming off a grueling six-game Commissioner’s Cup Finals just last week.
The Gin Kings open their Governors’ Cup title retention bid against Columbian Dyip on 31 August while the Beermen start their mission against NLEX on 1 September.