PBA 44 review: Back on the good road for NLEX
Paul Lintag on Jan 28, 2020 04:01 PM
Kiefer's impact immediately coming off an 18-month ban was promising. Imagine him having a full offseason to once again fit in with his team. (Photo by Richard Esguerra)
You thought the PBA's 43rd season was a long one?
Yeah, the PBA's 44th season had it beat.
The 2019 PBA season started at the Philippine Arena on January 13, 2019. It officially ended January 17, 2020 when Barangay Ginebra won the Governors' Cup Finals.
Ironically, the Gin Kings won the first and last games of the 2019 season.
Anyway, the point is the PBA's 44th season was a marathon. And before a new one starts, it's time to take a look at how all 12 teams fared in the past year.
Today, we look at the NLEX Road Warriors.
ON THE WAY UP
NLEX's story last season was how its rise to become a contender was stopped on its tracks due to Kiefer Ravena's 18-month ban from basketball.
This season, he story of NLEX is how its rise to become a contender resumes with Kiefer's ban finally getting lifted.
Through the Philippine Cup and the Commissioner's Cup, the Road Warriors dragged through zero playoff appearances.
NLEX did make it to the playoff for 8th in the All-Filipino, but a 4-7 record was largely uninspiring.
In the Commissioner's Cup, NLEX never got it going and a 3-8 record had them in last place.
The turnaround came in the Governors' Cup though.
With Ravena on deck, NLEX rode its new-found confidence all the way to an 8-3 record and a breakthrough no. 1 ranking for the playoffs.
However, even Kiefer and former NBA player Manny Harris couldn't drive NLEX any further after that as the Road Warriors became the fourth top-ranked team to be eliminated by a no. 8 seed in the PBA playoffs.
NLEX lost a triple-overtime classic in the knockout quarterfinals, stopping the team's dream run short.
NLEX Road Warriors in the PBA's 44th season
Philippine Cup: 4-7 (9th place)
Commissioner's Cup: 3-8 (12th place)
Governors' Cup: 8-3 (1st place, lost in Quarterfinals)
Overall: 15 wins and 18 losses. One playoff appearance.
Regardless of how NLEX's season ended, the Road Warriors should be on the way up now.
Kiefer's impact immediately coming off an 18-month ban was promising. Imagine him having a full offseason to once again fit in with his team.
NLEX has key pieces in place across the board and the Road Warriors are just pressing continue from a great new era that started two seasons ago.
Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8