COACH Yeng Guiao expects other NLEX players to step up following veteran Larry Fonacier's decision to opt out of the PBA Philippine Cup bubble.
The Road Warriors have several options to take the place of Fonacier, with Guiao especially mentioning rookie Mike Ayonayon as the probable one to take the spot at the wings.
"Marami kaming players, puro nga kami players," said Guiao. "Pero ang kukuha ng slot niya si Ayonayon," said the champion coach.
Ayonayon is no stranger to pressure.
He played a big part in in his team winning the national championship of the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) last year, emerging as the Finals MVP after firing 33 points in the decisive Game 5.
That made a huge impact in Ayonayon's resume that NLEX lost no time to pick him at no. 3 overall in the first round of the 2019 draft.
Of course, Fonacier will be missed badly by the Road Warriors, according to Guiao.
"We're going to be losing one of our leaders and veterans. He's one of our best floor spacers with his three-point shooting," said the 61-year-old mentor.
Fonacier opted not to go with NLEX inside the Clark bubble due to personal reasons.
Another veteran in Cyrus Baguio also cited personal reasons for likewise not joining the Road Warriors in the two-month resumption of the Philippine Cup, joining Fonacier on the sidelines.(RG)