Phoenix has Brandon Brown on standby with Eugene Phelps return from injury still uncertain
Brandon Brown is ready to see action although Phoenix still hopes Eugene Phelps would be able to suit up. Karlo Sacamos

PHOENIX has tapped the services of a standby import in Brandon Brown in case Eugene Phelps’ foot injury doesn’t heal in time for the team’s PBA Governors’ Cup matchup on Friday against Meralco.

Phelps has been wearing a protective boot on his left foot this week to recover from a bone bruise that he has been nursing even before the Fuel Masters’ last game last Sunday, a 92-86 loss to Blackwater.

That prompted the Fuel Masters to bring in what coach Ariel Vanguardia called an “insurance” import in the 32-year-old Brown, a journeyman forward who last played in Turkey.

“We don't know if Eugene will make it in time,” Vanguardia said on Saturday after their tune-up game against La Salle at Upper Deck gym. “We like Eugene to completely heal, kasi medyo pinilit maglaro, 'di na-complete yung healing.”

Still, Vanguardia would rather have Phelps as their reinforcement when they return to action against the Bolts.

“We will know by next week, Vanguardia said. “May chance pa (maglaro si Eugene).”

For now, the Fuel Masters are pinning their hopes on Brown, who they signed to a half-month contract, and showed glimpses of his capabilities in their 83-68 win over the Green Archers.

“He knows the game,” Vanguardia said. “Nasa back-up list namin talaga siya. When he was available, we took him.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos