Philippine Daily Inquirer

Crit­i­cal stretch

Phoenix bat­tles Alaska, kick­ing off sev­eral teams’ fi­nal play­off push

- By June Navarro @ju­navINQ

Phoenix coach Louie Alas un­der­stands the im­por­tance of get­ting fully recharged prior to a cru­cial match.

And com­ing off a 16-day respite, the Phoenix Fuel Masters will face the Alaska Aces on Wed­nes­day re­plete with en­ergy and vigor in a game that could de­ter­mine their fate in PBA Com­mis­sioner’s Cup.

“This is our last game, so get­ting a lot of rest [was] very im­por­tant for us to at­tain peak per­for­mance,” said Alas.

The Fuel Masters (4-6) are still in the run­ning for a quar­ter­fi­nal spot de­pend­ing on the out­come of the re­main­ing games in­volv­ing San Miguel Beer (5-4), Glob­alPort (5-5), Barangay Gine­bra (5-5) and Mag­no­lia (4-6).

They re­main in the hunt af­ter fix­ing the cause of the team’s endgame col­lapse and wal­lop­ing the Batang Pier to break loose from a dan­ger­ous los­ing skein.

Phoenix hardly gave Glob­alPort a fight­ing chance right from the start with Eu­gene Phelps wind­ing up with a triple- dou­ble and Matthew Wright torch­ing the hoops from afar that re­sulted in a 135-108 rout.

Alas pointed out that, un­like their pre­vi­ous en­coun­ters where they were in to­tal con­trol only to get rat­tled down the stretch, the Fuel Masters showed steadi­ness this time around.

“We usu­ally en­counter prob­lems in the third quar­ter. When I fielded in two guards to take care of the bas­ket­ball, we were able to con­trol the game,” said Alas.

But the Aces, though los­ing back-to-back games, are also mo­ti­vated, es­pe­cially with a twice-to-beat in­cen­tive in the quar­ter­fi­nals as the prize.

A win on Fri­day night paired with a TNT KaTropa set­back at the hands of con­fer­ence leader Rain or Shine (9-1) on Satur­day could pave the way for the Aces to seal the other twice-to-beat edge in the next round.

On a roll the past four games, Barangay Gine­bra seeks a key win over Glob­alPort in the sec­ond match that will as­sure the Gin Kings of a seat in the top six, where they fig­ure in a be­stof-three clash in the quar­ters.

If Glob­alPort wins, the Batang Pier will also stay out of the last two play­off spots, which puts teams on the dis­ad­van­ta­geous end of the twice-to-beat bonus. The top two teams only need to win once against the bot­tom two to book semi­fi­nals slots while those in the last two spots need to win back-to-back matches to ad­vance.

IN­QUIRER SPRT NAME/AGE/CITY/MES­SAGE TO 4467 [Aus­tralian Daniel] Kick­ert started it all and he didn’t even apol­o­gize. All he said was it’s re­gret­table and all he said was it was un­for­tu­nate. He al­most killed some­body and he did not apol­o­gize YENG GUIAO NLEX coach ( See story on Page A16)

 ?? —SHER­WIN VARDELEON ?? Matthew Wright will be a vi­tal cog for Phoenix Fuel, along with im­port Eu­gene Phelps.
—SHER­WIN VARDELEON Matthew Wright will be a vi­tal cog for Phoenix Fuel, along with im­port Eu­gene Phelps.
 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines