The NLEX Road Warriors stayed focused on the task at hand even on the ejection of coach Yeng Guiao and rewarded themselves with a 91-70 rout of the Alaska Milk Aces in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Wednesday night.
The Road Warriors returned from the halftime break as a determined bunch, starting the third period with a decisive 11-2 salvo and going on to check their slump.
An Alaska Milk legend in Jojo Lastimosa took the rein on the ouster of Guiao midway through the second quarter, steering the Road Warriors past the Alaska Aces.
But despite the win, the Road Warriors remained in a precarious spot at 3-5, needing to sweep their last three games to get a shot at the playoffs. The Aces are slightly ahead at 3-4.
"Second time na ginawa ni coach na hindi ko na napigilan. There's no time na lagyan ng kamay si coach. But coach Yeng didn't do such a thing that's not calculated. He's so much trust on his staff, and it's a big confidence-booster for the staff," said Lastimosa.
The PBA great, a grand slam winner with Alaska, said they were pretty confident going into the game versus the Aces.
"For some reason, we play Alaska very well. If you would notice, Alaska won over us just once in a long period of time now," said Lastimosa.
The NLEX chief assistant coach admitted, though, that they still have a long way to go.
"Mathematically, we're still there. But it's a long road ahead of us. We need to sweep our last three games to have a chance. The reality is that we're in a hole. I don't know how to get out of that hole," said Lastimosa.
But the Road Warriors did pump some life back on their bid on their conquest of the Aces through total teamwork.
No NLEX player scored more than 14, but no less than eight Road Warriors put in at least eight markers.
JR Quinahan fired 14 points, counting 4-of-6 three-pointers.
Also figuring well in the scoring equation were Bong Galanza, Juami Tiongson, Jansen Rios, Poy Erram, Raul Soyud, Mark Tallo and Kenneth Ighalo.
Jeron Teng piled up 23 markers to pace the losing team.
Guiao was ejected in the second quarter on technical fouls. (SB)
NLEX 91 - Quinahan 14, Galanza 14, Rios 10, Erram 9, Ighalo 9, Tiongson 8, Soyud 8, Tallo 8, Paniamogan 3, Porter 3, Baguio 3, Magat 2, Lao 0, Varilla 0.
Alaska 70 - Teng 23, Potts 13, Enciso 8, Thoss 6, Pascual 5, Baclao 4, Cruz 3, Banchero 3, Exciminiano 2, Galliguez 2, Ayaay 1, Andrada 0.
Quarters: 24-18, 50-36, 74-57, 91-70.