NLEX shoots for solo lead
CO-LEAGUE leader NLEX shoots for solo first place, but is bound to face yet another stiff test in its quest in the 2017 Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup.
The Road Warriors (7-2) are looking to close in on a top four finish and a twice-to-beat incentive in the quarterfinals, but in order to do so, they need to overcome the challenge of sister team TNT KaTropa (5-3) as their paths cross at 7 p.m. today at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
An equally important clash precedes the main course as Rain or Shine (4-3) looks to get back on track when it takes on ailing Phoenix (2-7) at 4:15 p.m. to open the show.
NLEX continues to show consistency throughout the tournament, surprising a lot of people in the process. This encounter with perennial contender TNT KaTropa will once again be a test of character for the uprising squad.
The last time out, the Road Warriors banked on Juami Tiongson’s career-high 21 points when they routed GlobalPort late, 109-99, last week.
They will be taking on the Tropang Texters, who are likewise coming off an impressive win, a 113-107 win over Meralco also last week.
However, the Texters are expected to be in adjustment mode as they suddenly will have to move forward without one of their usual stars.
In yet another shocking trade, TNT KaTropa surprisingly shipped veteran forward Ranidel De Ocampo after nine years of partnership.
The versatile big was sent to Phoenix first in exchange for Norbert Torres and the Fuel Masters’ 2017 first-round draft pick.
Following that, the Fuel Masters then sent De Ocampo over to Meralco for Justin Chua and the Bolts’ 2017 first-round pick. Lastly, they then sent Chua to TNT for the KaTropa’s 2019 second round pick.
This clash with the Road Warriors will be the Tropang Texters’ first game without De Ocampo.
This deal comes just days after Star also shockingly traded gunner Allein Maliksi to Blackwater for Bam Gamalinda and Kyle Pascual.
Following its three-game winning streak, Rain or Shine’s run was halted as it bowed to surging San Miguel Beer, 103-96, last week.
It now looks bounce back against Phoenix, who have lost seven straight games and is already out of contention.