Northern Luzon Expressway (NLEX) guns for the solo lead on Wednesday as it battles TNT KaTropa in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Season 42 Governors’ Cup at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo.
The Road Warriors, currently tied with Barangay Ginebra San Miguel for No. 1 spot with identical 7-2 win-loss records, square off with the KaTropa in the main game at 7 p.m.
In the opener, Rain or Shine tries to move closer for a quarterfinal seat with a win against the skidding Phoenix at 4:15 p.m.
Already in the quarters with a twice-to-beat incentive, NLEX still searches for more wins to prepare them better in the next round.
“Our mission is to get to eight wins as soon as possible. Two tough games to accomplish that, TNT is the first big hurdle. We hope the Ranidel De Ocampo trade is going to create some adjustment issues that can work to our advantage,” said Road Warrios head coach Yeng Guiao.
“We need to pay attention to defending Jayson Castro, Roger Pogoy and Glen Rice to beat them. This is the homestretch and we need the toughness to sustain our drive,” he added.
Import Aaron Fuller will lead the NLEX charge along with Kevin Alas and Alex Mallari, two players who are shining under the wings of Guiao.
TNT, at 5-3, tries to formalize its entry in the quarterfinal stage. The KaTropa are coming off a 113-107 win over Meralco last week behind Rice’s 32 points.
Head coach Nash Racela is parading his new recruits Norbert Torres and Justin Chua, who were part of the three-team deal that also involved Meralco and Phoenix. They lost veteran forward De Ocampo in that deal.
The Elasto Painters, meanwhile, are holding a 4-3 win-loss record and try to move closer for a seat in the next round.
The Fuel Masters are out to end a seven-game slide after a 2-0 start. At 2-7, Phoenix needs to sweep its last two games and hope to figure in a playoff for the last quarterfinal seat.
A loss would mean goodbye for the wards of head coach Ariel Vanguardia.