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Simmons vows strong finish

Outgoing import Jonathon Simmons was in no mood to celebrate after leading NLEX to a perfect 3-0 record in the Governors’ Cup of the Philippine Basketball Association.

In fact, in a group photo with the management and coaching staff, Simmons was the only one who wasn’t smiling, carrying the same game face that he displayed when he torched TNT Tropang Giga with 45 points during their 110-108 victory on Wednesday.

For him, the mission is not yet completed.

“A win, nothing less, but winning,” said Simmons, vowing to come up with an explosive and memorable performance when he plays his last game against Phoenix Super LPG on Saturday at the Ynares Centre in Antipolo City.

Simmons, a National Basketball Association veteran, is set to leave after their game against the Fuel Masters to join his previous club, the Shanxi Loongs, in the Chinese Basketball Association.

The Loongs hold the playing rights of Simmons, but the Road Warriors were able to reach an agreement with the CBA to allow him to see action in the PBA for four games.

NLEX coach Frankie Lim said they are determined to give their import a fitting send-off.

“We’re playing Phoenix and we’re making our own game plan. We’ll see how it goes,” Lim said.

“I was asking him to stay for one more game so he gets a chance to play against Ginebra, but they want him to leave right away and I think he’s leaving Sunday — if he finds his passport. I burned it.”

Simmons’ replacement, another former NBA campaigner in Wayne Selden Jr., arrived on Thursday, and he will be given a few days to observe how the Road Warriors play.

Simmons vowed to come up with a smooth transition to help Selden pick up where he left off.

“I’m just looking for him to come in and be impactful to the team,” Simmons added.

“I’ll probably have to talk to him and give him the feel of the guys and coach. I think he’s going to be a good fit.”

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