Phoenix head coach Coach Ariel Vanguardia believes that with Eugene Phelps on board, the Fuel Masters can go deep into the playoff stage of the season-ending Philippine Basketball Association Season 42 Governor’s Cup, which kicks off on July 19.
“Eugene Phelps is already here since last week. Although we have no new local players, we feel we have a legitimate chance of advancing further into the playoffs,” Vanguardia told The Manila Times via text message.
“We are a team on a mission to win our first playoff victory. We are aiming for our first semifinals appearance this conference,” he added.
The 6’5 import, known as the “El Destructor” in Central America, averaged 36.1 points, 19.8 rebounds and 4.0 assists in last year’s Governor’s Cup with the team.
Phelps helped the Fuel Masters reached the quarterfinals of the Governors’ Cup last season but lost to TNT KaTropa in their attempt to make their first semifinal appearance.
“We are banking on our familiarity with Phelps and the chemistry that we have developed over the last three conferences,” said Vanguardia.
Phelps, in fact, had a short stint with Phoenix last Commissioner’s Cup before being replaced by import Jameel McKay last March 20 due to his playing commitment in Puerto Rico. He scored 53 points and grabbed 21 rebounds in their 118-116 double-overtime win over Blackwater.
JOSEF T. RAMOS