Not wanting any complications in their twice-to-beat advantage bid, the NLEX Road Warriors vow to do the best they can to get past the TNT KaTropa Texters in a crucial setto in the PBA Governors Cup at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo Wednesday.
Game time is at 7 p.m.
"Our mission is to get to eight wins ASAP (as soon as possible)," said NLEX coach Yeng Guiao ahead of the match where they are ranged against the TNT team out to sweep its last three games also for a shot at a "win-once" advantage in the quarters.
The Road Warriors, however, are virtually two steps ahead in the race with a front-running 7-2 win-loss card that they currently share with the Barangay Ginebra Kings.
"(We have) two tough games to accomplish that. TNT is the first big hurdle. We hope the RDO trade is going to create some adjustment issues that can work to our advantage," said Guiao.
On the eve of the match, TNT entered in a three-way trade deal with Meralco and Phoenix Petroleum where the KaTropa dealt away Ranidel de Ocampo to acquire the Fuel Masters' rights on Norbert Torres and the team's 2017 first-round draft pick.
De Ocampo, a key piece in the Texters' six championships, ended up with Meralco.
With Ocampo gone, Guiao said they're paying attention to defend Jason Castro, RR Pogoy and import Glen Rice Jr.
"This is the homestretch and we need the toughness to sustain our drive," said Guiao.
The KaTropa parted ways with a key player even as they've yet to really settle down in the tourney.
"I've mentioned this couples of games back, we're unstable as a team because of a lot of things - Gilas, injuries, then Gilas again. That's the sacrifice we had to make but it's really tough," said TNT coach Nash Racela after their last game.
"Di kami makabwelo. Ngayong kumpleto na, sana makabwelo na," Racela added.
TNT KaTropa went through a win-loss-win-loss pattern before scoring a first back-to-back wins in the tourney. The Texters then lost their last game against the GlobalPort Batang Pier before bouncing back against the Meralco Bolts.
Jayson Castro and RR Pogoy rendered service to Gilas in the FIBA Asia Cup before Troy Rosario took his turn to play for Team Phl in the SEA Games.
Then came De Ocampo's exit.