NLEX is beginning a new journey without Jonathon Simmons against the dangerous and defending champion Barangay Ginebra in the 2023 PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday, Feb. 8.
The Road Warriors who have been undefeated with Simmons will have another former NBA player to reinforce them against the Justin Brownlee-led Kings in the 5:45 collision.
It will come after an equally enticing match between TNT and the still perfect Converge in the opening game at 3 p.m.
NLEX is parading its new import in Wayne Selden who is looking to continue the 4-0 slate which Simmons had started before having to leave the team for a more lucrative deal in China.
While it might be hard to fill in the shoes of Simmons after the splendid start, Selden seemed to have the capability to do so with his resume certainly not lacking the highlights with stints with New Orleans, Memphis, Chicago, and New York in the NBA.
The only challenge for him though is to get himself acclimatized to the PBA and be familiar with coach Frankie Lim’s system and his teammates in just a short span of time.
Selden arrived in the country Saturday night, Feb. 4, and only has three full days to shake off the jet lag and adjust with the Road Warriors.
“We just try to be consistent, especially our locals. We have another import coming in so we just try to work with him and teach him the things we do,” said Lim
“We should get more points on players like Kevin (Alas), Don (Trollano) and even Sean (Anthony) and Brandon (Ganuelas-Rosser). That (offense) sparks our defense,” he added.
Out to welcome the new NLEX import in some sort of baptism of fire is Brownlee who has been long reigning the season-ending conference.
The resident Ginebra import and naturalized Filipino even made a rousing return last Sunday, Feb. 5, dropping a triple-double of 29 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds as the Kings opened their title defense in style with a 116-108 victory over Rain or Shine.
Ginebra head coach Tim Cone though remains wary of Selden who could become another ‘super import’ in the PBA, according to some of the multi-titled mentor’s friends in the US who have watched how the incoming NLEX import plays.
“I have friends in the US who have watched him play and they think he is gonna be a super, super import so they may not lose so much with this kid Seldon coming in. He’s really good, played three, four years in the NBA,” said Cone.