THERE’S a better reason why NLEX acquired a seasoned player in Larry Fonacier to join a young squad like the Road Warriors.
A player rich in championship experience, Mr. Fonacier has quickly turned the Road Warriors to a winning squad and after two games playing with the team, general manager and head coach Yeng Guiao noticed the changes brought by his long-time player on his squad.
“I’m sure he’ll get better. He’s a veteran and he’s one of the guys who is making our chemistry really good with his leadership. We will need to set him up a little bit more with his strong point, which is shooting,” said Mr. Guiao.
“The hardest thing about getting back is his timing. Even though you’re healed from your previous injury, it’s difficult to get your timing back. I guess that’s the only problem with him.”
Ten years separated from Mr. Guiao, Mr. Fonacier wants to perform to the task given to him by his old mentor.
“I’m still getting used to it,” added Mr. Fonacier. “Coach Yeng is different from all my other coaches. I know the trust is there, the respect is there. It’s only two games. I need a few more games to be a little bit more comfortable on what he wants me to do on this team.”
Mr. Fonacier is coming off an operation on his bone spur injury and although Mr. Guiao is slowly but surely trying to break him in, the veteran swingman is playing more comfortable having no pain at all while playing.
“It’s painless now, I’m more comfortable,” said Mr. Fonacier. “I feel revitalized because compared to last conference, it’s really painful.
Now, it’s more comfortable and no pain at all.”
Mr. Fonacier said he knows what was expected of him and he didn’t come to NLEX just to become the franchise player.
“I play my role, I try to make people better,” Mr. Fonacier told BusinessWorld. “That’s what I’m built for. I didn’t come here to become the franchise player or anything. I don’t even have to step on other people’s shoes.”
Mr. Guiao said Mr. Fonacier will play a key role and would be a good complement to their import, Aaron Fuller, who has been practically doing everything to help the Road Warriors win. The team has won back-to-back games this conference, the only other time the squad went 2-0 since the fiery mentor took over from Boyet Fernandez as coach. NLEX has also extended its winning streak to four, dating back its last two games in the Commissioner’s Cup.
“Next time when we play, he’s going to attract double teams. When that double team comes, we should be ready. We need to take some shots off the ball rotation coming out of the double team, that’s why Larry is so important. If you have an inside threat, then you will be able to open up your shooters,” added Mr. Guiao. — Rey Joble