Coach Ariel Vanguardia is expecting Phoenix Petroleum to be more of a physically defensive-minded team when they begin their campaign on Wednesday in the Philippine Basketball Association Season 42 Philippine Cup.
After acquiring several players from the draft and through trades during the off-season, Vanguardia said the target of the Fuel Masters is to qualify higher in the playoff round this conference and showcase their full potential.
“Go to the playoffs and achieve a higher ranking there,” Vanguardia told The Manila Times during a phone interview. “And we’ll take it there. So far, the team has a good chemistry now and we accomplished a lot of things during the off season. I hope we bring it.”
Phoenix will be relying on veterans Cyrus Baguio, Willie Wilson, Mark Borboran, JC Intal and power forward Doug Kramer, rookies Matthew Wright, Gelo Alolino and Jeff Javillonar, John Wilson, Chico Lanete, Simon Enciso, Norbert Torres and Michael Miranda, among others.
“We just arrived from a training camp and team building in Tagaytay,” added Vanguardia. “We are in a best shape so far. Phoenix will be more of a running team but we will be identified through our solid defense. We’ll be playing physically this season.”
Besides their running game and defense, the Fuel Masters will also be known for their outside shooting, where even their big guys like Torres and Borboran have the capability to shoot outside the three-point lane.
The Fuel Masters will be facing Blackwater at the Araneta Coliseum.