NOT even a victory against the PBA’s most popular team can ease Jeff Chan's concern over a near Phoenix collapse late in an 87-82 win over Barangay Ginebra in their PBA Philippine Cup matchup on Friday night.
The Fuel Masters saw their 24-point lead almost disappear no thanks to a Gin Kings comeback led by Scottie Thompson, who willed his team to within three points, before falling short.
“Actually pangit pa rin (ng game namin) eh,” Chan said. “I think we were up mga more than ten pa in the last five minutes, pero again yung finishing namin kailangan namin i-improve.”
“Kailangan namin maging smart, kailangan din namin na pag ganun yung lead namin, mas madiinan pa para ‘di na sila maka-recover,” he added.
Chan made sure to spare the Fuel Masters’ blushes from a meltdown as he scored his team’s last six points, including two on a long jumper that gave them an 85-76 lead with 57 seconds left.
After the Gin Kings made their last push and scored six unanswered points off Phoenix turnovers to cut the deficit to just three, Chan sealed the deal with two free throws to silence the pro-Ginebra crowd.
“Kailangan ‘di kami ma-rattle,” Chan said as his team moved back to .500 at 3-3. “Lalo na na-involve yung crowd kanina, nung humahabol sila. Kailangan yung composure andun.”
“Tsaka kailangan masunod yung plays kasi minsan pag nara-rattle yung players – kahit ako minsan, nangyayari sa’kin yun – nawawala yung decision making, nagkakamali, so kailangan namin maimprove yon. So hopefully sa coming games makuha namin,” he added.