New-look NLEX begins road to redemption versus San Miguel

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By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY--Despite already getting the boot in the PBA Commissioner's Cup, NLEX did not wait for the end of the conference to begin its rebuilding for the Governors' Cup and orchestrated two trades that were approved on May 6.

[Related Stories: MVP clubs, GlobalPort consummate blockbuster trade | Ahead of clash against Blackwater, Mahindra gets Khobuntin, Camson from NLEX for Mallari]

A retooled Road Warriors will get their baptism of fire against the San Miguel Beermen on Friday night as the league resumes after the SEABA break at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay.

Alex Mallari, Larry Fonacier, and JR QuiƱahan will play for the first time in NLEX jerseys at 4:15 p.m. against an SMB squad looking to bounce back from its first defeat of the conference against TNT on May 5.

[Related Story: TNT, Greene put streaking San Miguel in losing column]

The acquisition of Fonacier and QuiƱahan, who at one point played under Coach Yeng Guiao, provides veteran smarts plus some familiarity to Guiao's system for the Road Warriors, while the arrival of Mallari, who was the Floodbusters' leading local scorer prior to the trade, gave them an additional scoring option apart from Carlo Lastimosa and Kevin Alas.

On the other hand, the Beermen are still expected to be without Junemar Fajardo, who would just be fresh from his Gilas stint at the SEABA tournament, which will end on Thursday night.

Meanwhile, Ginebra and Rain Or Shine, two more teams with national team representatives, collide in the main game at 7 p.m.

The Elasto Painters, pending league approval, are set to field in "balik-import" Duke Crews in place of Shawn Taggart against the Barangay.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno