PBA Saturday Preview: Tough Stretch Continues For NLEX

The Road Warriors look to break out of their two-game slump on PBA Saturday.

Photo via PBA Images

2022-23 PBA Governors' Cup Saturday Games (February 18)

Venue: Smart Araneta Coliseum

First Game: Terrafirma Dyip (2-4) versus Phoenix Super LPG (1-5)

Second Game: Converge FiberXers (5-1) versus NLEX Road Warriors (4-2)

Fuel Masters now in must-win mode

Holding a 1-5 slate with only five games left on their schedule, it’s now must-win mode for Phoenix if they want to make the playoffs. They have to find a way to steady the ship on the defensive end, where they dropped from first in defensive rating (100.1) last conference to only 7th (114.4) in their current campaign.

In their matchup against Terrafirma on Saturday, Phoenix’s defense will have to hone in on two players: import Jordan Williams and lead guard Juami Tiongson.  

Notable Stats

  • Terrafirma's Juami Tiongson continues to light it up in the Governors' Cup. He was limited by foul trouble during their recent heartbreaking loss to the Rain or Shine, but Tiongson still managed to pour in 23 points (9-12 FG) in just 27 minutes of play. This conference, Tiongson is averaging 22.7 points on 65.3% True Shooting, including a stellar 50% clip from three.

  • Phoenix's Jason Perkins is having one of his best individual campaigns so far. Perkins is certainly one of the best-performing local players this conference, as he's tallying 18.0 points on 60.9% True Shooting, 6.2 rebounds, and 3.2 assists. Those are All-Star numbers for sure.

Can NLEX break out of their slump?

NLEX’s fantastic 4-0 start to the conference is now blemished by two consecutive defeats against two elite teams in Ginebra and Magnolia. But there’s no need to hit the panic button for NLEX just yet, especially with how consistently good their local stars Kevin Alas and Don Trollano have been so far.

But after giving up an average of 116.5 points in their two losses, the Road Warriors’ defense will face another litmus test against the FiberXers, one of the most balanced teams in the Governors’ Cup.

Notable Stats

  • Converge was already good as an offensive team in the previous Commissioner's Cup, but their defense was a problem back then. But the FiberXers are performing better on both ends of the floor this conference, ranking fourth in both offensive rating (118.3) and defensive rating (108.4).

  • After tallying five blocks against Ginebra, NLEX's Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser compiled three blocks in their recent loss to Magnolia. However, this has not translated to good team defense for NLEX, especially with Magnolia still dominating inside with 58 points in the paint. Converge ranks at the bottom-half of the league in three-point percentage (33%), so let's see if the NLEX defense will prioritize protecting the paint on Saturday.

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