Whether he stays or he goes, NLEX’s focus is now on making the most of the import of Jonathan Simmons.
That’s how captain Kevin Alas shaped the Road Warriors’ situation after Wednesday’s defeat of Blackwater 124-102, which sent the club a resounding opening of the PBA Governors’ Cup campaign.
“We just want to enjoy every moment that Jonathan is with us. He can leave us, he can stay. If he’d only played four games, we’d be trying to get all the wins we could get in that period,” Alas told the Inquirer shortly after scoring a career-high 31 points and help the Road Warriors at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City.
TNT held it together over the long haul to a 123-119 win over Phoenix in the second set.
Jalen Hudson leads Tropang Giga with 34 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists.
“He has NBA caliber. And you all saw it earlier. For our part, we’re just trying not to lose focus when things like that happen and are out of our control. We all just need to deliver,” said Alas in a soft voice, about Simmons, the frontrunner of the NLEX campaign that landed a lucrative contract in China.
The NBA veteran, who had his best time with the San Antonio Spurs, finished with 32 points, 9 rebounds and 7 additional assists for Alas’ brilliant night.
This pairing stands out in the payline, which combined with 29 points puts NLEX over the opponent by almost double, 40-21.
“I’m pretty confident he can play,” NLEX coach Frankie Lim said of Simmons, who reportedly received a license from a Chinese club to continue playing for the Road Warriors just a few days. hours before the game.
“One thing I like about Simmons is that he is honest with me. I really appreciate that,” continued Lim. “When he said he had to go to China to play, I told him to finish the contract here first, maybe he can bring us four wins before [he leaves].”
Nothing is certain“I can’t stop him, because big money is involved. There’s also a chance he’ll stay longer and that’s what I said before,” he added.
For his part, Simmons says NLEX fans can expect him in the next game against NorthPort taking place this Saturday in Antipolo City. But he can’t say anything definite about his stay with the Road Warriors either.
“I don’t know man, I leave that to the manager. I just came to play basketball, but I’m glad it worked out so I can play and lead this team to victory,” he said. “We’ll see what happens.”
He took his hat off to his teammates’ abilities, even going as far as to offer suggestions on how to move forward in the end-of-season conference.
“We just need to do better defensively. I think our defensive ability will help our offensive momentum move forward, so it’s mostly about getting to know each other’s points and getting more chemistry on defense and then going it’s very hard to beat us,” he said.
Blackwater fought for the first three quarters, all thanks to Shawn Glover returning and the now healthy locals Baser Amer and Yousef Taha. They all finished with the same two numbers as young Ato Ular.
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