PHOENIX coach Ariel Vanguardia saw the latest proof on Saturday that his team won the trade with Alaska that saw RJ Jazul and Simon Enciso switch places before the start of the last PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
In the Fuel Masters’ 95-93 win over the Aces on Saturday, Vanguardia showed why he was reluctant to let Enciso go as the sophomore playmaker scored 17 points, highlighted by five triples, before cooling down in the second half where he scored just three of his output.
Jazul, a longtime Alaska guard, turned into a villain against his former team as he heated up in the second half and capped his performance with a crucial three-pointer that helped the Fuel Masters douse a late comeback.
“Honestly, I miss Simon. Kita niyo naman kung gaano ka-deadly si Simon,” Vanguardia admitted. “But (if) you like Simon, you just gotta love RJ, ‘di ba? Kumbaga si Simon, girlfriend; si RJ, yun yung asawa, so talagang pangmatagalan.”
“‘Di ba?” he was quick to add in justifying the analogy. “You like your girlfriend, but you love your wife – pero hindi para dun sa may mga wife na ah. Baka ma-quote ako (wrongly). Iba yung pinapakasalan.”
“Meron yung naging girlfriend niyo, pero meron yung ‘she’s the one,’” Vanguardia continued as he draw chuckles from the press. “Si Simon, okay na girlfriend, pero kung si RJ, for life. I credited him kanina – poise, guts na tinira yung three points, and then nung endgame, binigay niya kay Eugene.”
Vanguardia is convinced the Fuel Masters have finally found their leader in the 31-year-old Jazul.
“Ang laking bagay si RJ, kasi nagka-leader kami ngayon,” the Phoenix coach said. “Last conference, nahihiya pa siya mag-lead eh. Ngayon talaga…makikita mo sa huddle na nagsasalita siya. Wala kaming ganun dati. Parang meron na kaming Jimmy Alapag o LA Tenorio o JVee Casio na nagle-lead.”
While he explained the analogy to the media, Vanguardia appears he has some more explaining to do.
“Relax lang dun sa ano, baka magalit yung asawa ko ha,” he said, drawing another round of laughter, before excusing from his audience after the post-game conference.