The NLEX Road Warriors are hoping their last game in the 2018 PBA Commissioner's Cup will help prepare them for a better showing in the season-ending Governors' Cup.
After officially bowing out of the running for the playoffs after their loss to the San Miguel Beermen in Calasiao, Pangasinan, the undermanned Road Warriors are activating Olu Ashaolu for their final game of the conference to replace Arnett Moultrie, who averaged 29.9 points, 14.7 rebounds, and 3.3 assists in his nine games with NLEX.
"Arnett is still around but he is slightly injured so we decided to activate our new import in preparation for the third conference," said NLEX official Ronald Dulatre.
The Road Warriors never really got going in the Commissioner's Cup as they faced a multitude of problems. They chose Moultrie to be their import long before the start of the conference but he had a tough time securing a release from his team in Bahrain, forcing NLEX to tab Adrian Forbes as a temporary import.
Soon after, Kiefer Ravena was deemed ineligible to play in the PBA due to FIBA's sanctions which further hurt their rotation that was already missing the injured Kevin Alas. It did not stop there for NLEX as they also lost Larry Fonacier to a collapsed lung in their June 9 game against Ginebra.
The franchise is now eager to move on from the past and prepare for the future with the arrival of the 30-year-old Ashaolu.
"He has been with the team for the past two weeks," Dulatre added. "He even traveled with us to Calasiao."
Ashaolu hails from Nigeria but holds Canadian citizenship. He played for Louisiana Tech in the NCAA for three years and then transferred to Oregon for his senior year. The well-traveled player has joined teams in Spain, France, and Japan.
His last performance was with the Sendai 89ers in Japan's B2 League where he averaged 18.5 points and 7.6 rebounds per game before being stopped by a knee injury last November.
After spending the past few months healing and rehabilitating, Ashaolu is now ready to hit the hardcourt again. However, he will be tested in his first stint in the PBA as the Road Warriors take one the Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok on July 4 at the Mall of Asia Arena. The Hotshots will also be playing with a new import in Wayne Chism, who played for NLEX in the 2017 Commissioner's Cup.