DERAILED in their previous game, the NLEX Road Warriors try to recover their bearing and shoot for a win to formalize their entry into the 2022-23 PBA Governors' Cup playoffs when they collide with the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters on Saturday, February 25, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
NLEX (5-3) takes on Rain or Shine (2-5) at 6:45 p.m.
Both teams are coming off ugly losses.
NLEX suffered a 114-98 beatdown at the hands of sister team Meralco, while Rain or Shine absorbed a 112-97 flattening from Magnolia Chicken Timplados.
Considering the playoff implications involved in both team's remaining games in the eliminations, intensity and energy will be high.
The Road Warriors, in particular, are still trying to get their rhythm with import Wayne Selden, who came in to take the spot of Jonathon Simmons.
Simmons led the team to a 4-0 start, but the Road Warriors went 1-3 since the former NBA player left the country. NLEX coach Frankie Lim though admitted that the team's winning run also got disrupted when the injury bug bit the Road Warriors as key players Sean Anthony (calf strain), Matt Nieto (shoulder) and big man Mike Miranda (ankle) are still recovering from respective injuries.
This forced Lim to dig deep into his rotation while also asking more from Selden, along with veterans Kevin Alas and Don Trollano and rookie Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser.
Against Rain or Shine, NLEX is sure to encounter rough sailing, considering that coach Yeng Guiao's charges are also fighting for a playoff spot.
Import Greg Smith 2nd had an anemic outing against Magnolia after being limited to just 15 points on a 3-of-10 shooting from the floor. His output was a far cry from his PBA debut of 38 points, spiked by five triples in the team's 122-117 win over Blackwater.
In the other game, NorthPort (1-6) will try to build on its 115-100 win over Terrafirma when it clashes with skidding Blackwater (1-8) at 4:30 p.m.
The Batang Pier finally chalked up their first win after six straight losses to open the conference under interim coach Bonnie Tan.
But there's a lot of catching up to do for NorthPort if it wishes to make the playoffs.
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