Philippine Daily Inquirer
Phoenix battles Alaska, kicking off several teams’ final playoff push
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)