Phoenix may very well be on the outside looking in when the next round of the 2019 PBA Commissioner's Cup rolls along.
Dealt a lopsided loss by San Miguel on Wednesday, the Fuel Masters dropped to 4-6 in the standings - hanging on for dear life as the elimination round comes to a close.
"Wala naman tayong magagawa. Talagang talo kami kanina," head coach Louie Alas told reporters following their 20-point defeat. "These negativities, we'll just have to turn them into positives by Friday kasi pwede pa rin naman kaming mag-number eight and pwedeng ma-upset namin yung number one. Yun ang importante - pumasok muna kami sa quarterfinals."
Two days from now, coach Louie and his wards take the floor once more opposite NLEX.
That is a must-win game if they are to have a shot at the next round.
Unfortunately for Phoenix, reinforcement Richard Howell incurred an injury in the second quarter and still needs to undergo tests. "Medyo nag-shake daw yung knee niya, pero kanina naman, binigyan ng test ng (physical therapist) namin and positive namin. Kailangan lang ng peace of mind ba so x-ray mamaya then basa tomorrow," their mentor shared.
He then continued, "We have to take care of business sa NLEX so hopefully, makalaro siya."
This, while they are already dealing with the absence of mercurial, but impactful Calvin Abueva.
Whatever happens, coach Louie said the Fuel Masters remain upbeat. "With or without (Howell), pwede pa naman. Ang hinahabol na lang naman namin is makapasok talaga," he said.