Huge duel

October 11, 2018

Phoenix has never had it so good.

With their regular import in Eugene Phelps consistently delivering yeoman job, and the arrival of Calvin Abueva whose energetic play seemingly rubbing off on the rest of the locals, the Fuel Masters are seeing an unprecedented rise in their PBA campaign.

Now on their eighth conference in the pro league, the Fuel Masters have now become serious contenders in the Governors’ Cup, and coach Louie Alas said he likes the situation they are in in the season-ending conference.

“We’re back and I like our situation,” said Alas as he made his way to the Cuneta Astrodome’s press room after the Fuel Masters’ masterful 123-97 rout of NLEX on Wednesday.

“Big bounce-back game kasi ‘yung talo namin sa Ginebra one-possession game lang,” added Alas, referring to the lopsided win that came at the heels of 101-99 loss to the Gin Kings last Sept. 29.

Whether the Fuel Masters are for real will be known today as they take on a San Miguel Beer team that’s going all out in its bid to keep its flickering playoff hopes alive.

The Fuel Masters, who are currently tied for fourth and fifth spots with Blackwater at 6-2, meet the Beermen in the 7 p.m. main offering of a double-header at the Mall of Asia Arena.

In their dominating show last time against the Road Warriors, the Fuel Masters leaned on Phelps who cut loose with 51 points and hauled down 20 rebounds, with Abueva, Jason Perkins and Matthew Wright complementing him well on both ends.

Phelps himself is getting optimistic about their chances for breakthrough semi-final appearance.

“I think it’s maturity. We just keep playing as a team,” said Phelps. “It’s just a team effort you know, keep on working, keep on going and see where we go.”

“The goal is to get at least a Top Four, and then you never know. Once you get to the Top Four, you can probably make it to the championship. Once we get there, anything is possible,” added Phelps.

It will be an entirely different challenge for them today because they are up against a San Miguel crew whose campaign seems to be at its lowest in years but cannot be taken for granted just the same despite its 2-4 record.

After SMB, Phoenix has two more remaining assignments, including against Rain or Shine on Oct. 24 also at the Astrodome and against Blackwater on Nov. 4 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.