Fuel Masters hone game, mind­set dur­ing break

Sun.Star Pampanga - - PERSPECTIVE! -

PHOENIX hit one big bump in the PBA Philip­pine Cup and it is mak­ing full use of the league's two-week break to re­pair any dam­age.

That is why Fuel Masters coach Louie Alas wel­comed the respite, say­ing they are us­ing it to rest aching bod­ies and, at the same time, fine­tune their game for what should be a tougher grind ahead.

"Mix­ture ng pahinga, prac­tices, re­view," said Alas adding his team has had only three days off since their 9498 over­time loss to Rain or Shine last Sun­day.

"Kasi si Calvin (Abueva) may mi­nor ham­string (in­jury), si Matt (Wright) el­bow niya, si Ja­son (Perkins) shoul­der," re­layed Alas. "Plus, madami kam­ing view­ing."

That loss to the Elasto Pain­ters cut short the Fuel Masters' un­beaten start to the sea­son at five games and de­nied them of at least a play­off slot for a quar­ter­fi­nals seat.

Get­ting his charges fit and ready is a must for Alas since Phoenix takes on NorthPort when the league re­sumes on Feb. 27 and then plays Alaska two days later.

"Mas kailan­gan ko 'yung healthy bod­ies dahil nga sa back-to-back namin," said Alas.

"Very cru­cial iyung next two games nam­ing 'yun."

That ex­plains why Alas wanted every­body present in their prac­tices that re­sume Mon­day. "Lalo na itong week na ito," he stated.

"Sabi ko nga sa kanila, 'Kahit me sakit kayo, basta nan­dito lang kayo para kahit i-walk­through ko na lang prac­tice, basta phys­i­cal pres­ence 'yung kailan­gan ko para di ko na kailan­gang ulitin iyung itu­turo ko from Day 1.

"Healthy na­man kami. Kaya lang, this will be the best time na palakasin iyung kailan­gang palakasin sa katawan namin."

And their col­lec­tive mind­set.

Bol­ster­ing his side's men­tal tough­ness is Alas' em­pha­sis since he feels it de­serted them in that game against Rain or Shine.

"Me chance kam­ing manalo, pero nu'ng over­time, tat­long pos­ses­sions na nag-break­down kami de­fen­sively," of­fered Alas.

"Sabi ko nga sa kanila sa post-game, 'Kung gusto nat­ing maka-catch up sa mga heavy­weights, wala tay­ong mar­gin for er­ror, de­fen­sively, in the endgame.'

"Ta­la­gang glar­ing. First three pos­ses­sions ng over­time okay pa. Shoot sila, shoot kami. Pero pang fourth, fifth, sev­enth pos­ses­sions saka nagbe-break­down kami. Iyung mga last four sec­onds na lang sa shot clock.

"Inaano ko ngang fac­tor, 'Pagod na ba kami?' Pero one of the best con­di­tioned teams itong team ko, e. Or, sabi ko, hindi na­man in­ex­pe­ri­ence kundi yung chem­istry pag malalakas ang kal­a­ban baka lumal­abas yung weak­ness namin at iyun ang gusto kong i-work out ."

The only one ab­sent in the Fuel Masters' re­cent prac­tice ses­sions is Alex Mal­lari, who flew to the US last Valen­tine's Day. But he is ex­pected to re­turn and re-join the team Tues­day. (NC)

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