DESPITE having a good number of veterans at his disposal, Phoenix head coach Ariel Vanguardia believes the Fuel Masters still need more time to mature.
Vanguardia made the assessment in the aftermath of a 124-113 loss to the defending PBA Governors' Cup champions San Miguel Beermen on Sunday that put the team in an early 0-2 hole.
"Kumbaga, kailangan ikalburo. Parang sa prutas, mura pa. Hindi pa talaga mature yung team," said Vanguardia as soon as he emerged from the team's dugout at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Since he's fielding a relatively young team, the new Phoenix mentor also noted that there is a need to develop "mental toughness" as well as a solid defense.
"When the going gets tough, medyo hindi pa buo 'yung team. Wala pang mental toughness. Lumalabas yung 'youth," he added.
"We know we can score but we gave up too many points. Talagang kailangan di kami magbigay ng puntos."
Still, Vanguardia is happy that at least for the most part, his high-octane team went full throttle. In fact, the Fuel Masters even led by as much as 11 points, 65-54.
"I'm a guy that looks at it half full rather than half empty," he said. "May mga positives talaga na nangyari."
"Dapat talaga masaktan muna kami sa mga talo para matuto kami."