PBA: Alas hopeful to have a mature Phoenix team in 2019
Paul Lintag on Jan 09, 2019 12:32 PM
Phoenix lost its twice-to-beat advantage to Meralco in the quarterfinals of the Governors’ Cup. The team would have had the chance to win their first ever playoff game and advance to their first ever semifinals.
Struggling for the first two conferences of last season, Phoenix finally had a breakout performance in the Governors’ Cup, winning a franchise-best eight games to take the no. 2 seed just behind two-time champion Brgy. Ginebra.
It was the best performance ever so far for the Fuel Masters however, the team didn’t went far come playoff time.
Phoenix lost its twice-to-beat advantage to Meralco in the quarterfinals. The team would have had the chance to win their first ever playoff game and advance to their first ever semifinals.
None of that happened.
But in hindsight, head coach Louie Alas is still quite please with the fight Phoenix showed in the last year’s Governors’ Cup.
“Okay naman ako dun sa last conference namin eh,” Alas said.
“Yun nga lang, wala pa talaga kaming experience during that time. Siguro nakakuha naman kami du nsa last two games namin and I hope na yung experience na nakuha namin, magagamit namin dito sa incoming conference,” he added.
As aside from lack of experience, Phoenix was plagued by lack of maturity last season.
It was evident everytime Phoenix lost a close game last year and Alas was quite frustrated at times as his team failed to move forward through the course of the season.
For 2019, the Fuel Masters have made moves to solve that problem, adding veterans Alex Mallari and Dave Marcelo instead of using their two first round picks to take raw talents.
Phoenix is also banking on star Matthew Wright to take the next step in his third season as well as Calvin Abueva fitting in better after a full offseason with the team.
“With the addition of Alex tsaka si Dave, tingin ko makakatulong ng malaki. Plus si Matt naman kita niyo paano siya mag-deliver ngayon,” Alas said.
“Hopefully yung one possession or two stops na kulang namin, sana mapunan namin for this conference,” he added.
Phoenix will get tested right away as the Fuel Masters play their season opener on Jan. 16 against Meralco.
Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8