FIRST impressions, well, last, for Eugene Phelps in this PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
After all, his first game could also be his last for Phoenix in this midseason tournament as coach Ariel Vanguardia bared his prized ward is set to leave soon to honor an upcoming contract with his team in Puerto Rico.
“I think I'm leaving tomorrow,” Phelps bared after exploding for 53 points and 21 boards in their 118-116 win over Blackwater on Saturday. “I leave to Puerto Rico on the 29th, so I need my break.”
Coming off a season in Taiwan, the 27-year-old Phelps, it turned out, was set to play for Brujos de Guayama, which signed him three months ago, for the upcoming season that opens on April 6. He just made a pit stop to the Philippines per the request of Vanguardia.
“I already signed (in Puerto Rico) but coach Ariel hit me up right after Taiwan and asked me if I could come in for like a game or two,” Phelps disclosed. “That's my guy so I told him I got no problem and I'm here. Thank God we got the win.”
“It was worth it,” he added.
Asked if his departure can still be delayed, Phelps smiled.
“It depends,” he said as he rubbed his fingers in a gesture of seeking extra money.
Vanguardia insisted Phelps’ flight has not been booked yet.
“Hindi pa sure yan,” Vanguardia said, although they already have a bigger import in place of the departing Phelps.
“He'll (Phelps) be here for one, two, or three games we'll have another one coming in by next week,” Vanguardia said. “I’m not at liberty yet to say, but he'll once he gets measured, he had a 7-foot-4 wingspan.
“I hope he (Phelps) would stay longer, but he's got a job in Puerto Rico, but you’ll never know,” he was quick to add. “Probably if his team in Puerto Rico decides like, ‘hey, you can have Eugene,’ then it’s a pleasant problem for us to have two guys that can join us.”