MISFIRING guards once again haunted Phoenix in its showdown with Star.
The Fuel Masters’ backcourt failed anew to keep in step with their Hotshots counterparts in a 101-82 loss in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup encounter Wednesday night, leaving coach Ariel Vanguardia frustrated.
Vanguardia admitted his phalanx of guards were outplayed and outshot by Mark Barroca and Co. as Star beat Phoenix by a mile for the fourth straight time dating back to last season.
Vanguardia lamented the Fuel Masters’ woeful 2-of-25 shooting from three-point range.
“We weren’t making our shots, so I have to challenge my guards to play much better,” he said. “Parang every time we play Star, they’re just raping our guards.”
“Every time Star plays us, they’re just gonna attack our guards.”
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Vanguardia failed to get any mileage from Gelo Alolino, Chico Lanete, and Karl Dehesa that he was forced to play new acquisition RJ Jazul extended minutes.
The former Letran star, acquired in a trade with Alaska for Simon Enciso, played for 41 minutes but didn't exactly do any better as he finished with only six points on 3-of-13 shooting.
“Si RJ labas na yung dila,” he stressed. “We’ve got to learn on how to play teams with better guards.”
Help is coming the Fuel Masters’ way, at least, as rookie gunner Matthew Wright is expected to be back after missing the first two games as he recovers from surgery to remove bone spurs on his foot.
“Two-of-twenty five, it’s really hard to win, and we’re known to be a shooting team,” stressed Vanguardia. “Hopefully, with Matt Wright back on Sunday, he’ll hit one, and maybe maging 3 of 25 kami.”
The loss evened at 1-1 the record of Phoenix, which faces TnT Katropa on Sunday.