PBA 43 Review: For Phoenix, there’s beauty in the Beast

Paul Lintag on Dec 29, 2018 08:07 PM
PBA 43 Review: For Phoenix, there’s beauty in the Beast
Phoenix’s season was going nowhere fast. Enter Calvin Abueva.

The PBA's 43rd season was a loooooong one.

Seriously, it started December of 2017 and it ended December of 2018. That's 12 months of almost non-stop basketball.

But with the current PBA season finally drawing to a close, it's time we look back at how each team fared in 2018.

Today, we take on the Phoenix Fuel Masters.



Phoenix’s season was going nowhere fast.

Despite a new coaching staff, the Fuel Masters simply just fell short in the Philippine Cup. Growing pains and just bad luck.

A promising Commissioner’s Cup then went downhill almost immediately. Maybe it’s not just bad luck.

Phoenix’s ceiling may not be just that high.

And then the Fuel Masters landed a star just before the Governors’ Cup, trading for the disgruntled Calvin Abueva for pretty much nothing. That development, coupled with super import Eugene Phelps returning for another tour of duty, and it looked like Phoenix was ready to rise.

And rise they did.

Phoenix got its best finish ever in the Governors’ Cup, finishing as the no. 2 seed just behind two-time champion Brgy. Ginebra.

However, growing pains and inexperience doomed the Fuel Masters again and they got swept in the quarterfinals, failing to win their first-ever playoff game in franchise history.

Still, Phoenix’s late-season revival puts the team right in the thick of things playoff race moving forward. With key pieces in place and a super resident import, further experience can be the edge the Fuel Masters need.

Phoenix’s 2018 season was going nowhere fast, but a great push towards the end sets up the team to greater heights next year.


Phoenix FUEL MASTERS in the 2017-2018 PBA Season

Philippine Cup: 5-6 (9th place)

Commissioner’s Cup: 4-7 (10th place)

Governors: Cup: 8-3 (2nd place)

Overall: 17 wins and 16 losses. One playoff appearance.



Phoenix had two first round picks but traded the higher one for veterans Alex Mallari and Dave Marcelo, opting for more proven commodity that one that they have to develop.

Still, the haul for the Fuel Masters include guys like forward Jorey Napoles and guards Ron Dennison and Joe Trinidad.

The FEU boys mean familiarity and can be counted on to fit in while Napoles and Ivan Villanueva should give insurance up front for Phoenix in the 2019 season.


Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8

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