Phoenix coach Ariel Vanguardia is encouraging the team’s veteran players Cyrus Baguio, JC Intal and Mark Borboran to step up for the Fuel Masters in the ongoing Philippine Basketball Association Season 42 Philippine Cup.
“I’m very positive about our chances this year. I keep telling my veteran players like Cyrus (Baguio), JC (Intal), Mark Borboran, Willie Wilson and Chico Lanete to take charge and learn to mix with our young players,” Vanguardia told The Manila Times during a phone interview.
Phoenix closed 2016 with an impressive come-from-behind 101-99 victory over GlobalPort last December 28. The Fuel Masters carry a 4-3 win-loss record and are currently No.4.
“We are on the right track so far although there are some growing pains. We just have to play hard each game. I believe we can go higher in the playoff if we show a lot of maturity in our remaining games starting this year.”
They also achieved a feat last year beating reigning back-to-back champion San Miguel Beer and bouncing back from a 26-point deficit to beat the Batang Pier.
Vanguardia added that they are not setting any goal this year to avoid pressure. “We are not thinking any goal for the meantime because it will only pressure us. We are just going to take it one game at a time or most likely per quarter at a time.”
The Fuel Masters are ready to plunge into 2017 action with young guns Matthew Wright and Norbert Torres, big man Prince Caperal, shooter John Wilson and playmaker Simon Enciso.
Phoenix Petroleum will face Rain or Shine on Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum for its first game of the year.