MANILA, Philippines – NLEX still has three games left in its schedule in the 2019 PBA Commissioner's Cup, but the team is getting a head start in its preparation for the upcoming Governors' Cup.
Coach Yeng Guiao confirmed on Tuesday that they have brought back import Olu Ashaolu, who played for four games for the Road Warriors last season before a nagging knee injury forced the team to replace him.
Ashaolu played one game in the 2018 Commissioner's Cup, then went 2-1 as an import in the Governors' Cup. He put up 27 points and 15 rebounds per game for NLEX despite playing on a bum right knee.
"Si Olu na ngayon kasi nga preparation na to for the third conference," said Guiao, after Ashaolu took part in their practices on Tuesday morning.
"He's going to be our import for the third conference and we’d rather bring him early, acclimatize him and make sure that he's in good shape, and pwede naman na siya isabak doon sa malalaking import eh ng ibang teams for this conference," he added.
Ashaolu is expected to suit up for NLEX on Friday, when they take on Rain or Shine.
The import, who had stints in Japan and Spain before playing for NLEX, admits that he has been looking forward to his return ever since he was forced to leave last year.
"I'm happy to be back," said Ashaolu, who believes he has some unfinished business in the PBA.
"We started off 2-1 (last year) and we didn't quite recover," he noted. "So I just wanna come here and you know, help, do my job, help the team advance as far as we possibly can. So I'm gonna put any kind of expectations, but I just wanna do better than what I did last year."
While he knows the team is already looking forward to the Governors' Cup, Ashaolu makes it clear that they will play to win in their remaining three games.
"You know, I don't think they brought me here to lose," he said. "I know that we're probably out of contention for this conference."
"But in my mind, I think I saw teams getting into the playoffs with 4 wins last season. So my mindset is to win. That’s my mindset," Ashaolu added.
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