THE ownership change from Barako Bull to Phoenix Petroleum is enough reason for head coach Koy Banal to be optimistic about their maiden campaign in the PBA in the upcoming Commissioner’s Cup.
Banal said the management change gives the team the opportunity to start afresh during the Commissioner’s Cup after the PBA approved the sale of the Barako Bull franchise to Phoenix Petroleum.
“It’s a new challenge for us. Kumbaga clean slate,” said Banal. “Although medyo kulang ang materyales natin compared to the other teams, during the preparation that’s what we normally remind the players na ang goal natin is to win.”
Banal said the team welcomed the change following the uncertainty over the future of Barako Bull during the days leading up to the sale.
“Ang reminder ko lang is focus on what we can control. We have no control on that (change in ownership). Ang reminders lang, hindi lang sa mga players but to the team including the coaching staff and support staff is let’s embrace it, ‘yung change na ‘to. And I think, positive naman ‘tong change na ‘to,” said Banal.
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Phoenix Petroleum vice president Raymond Zorilla has indicated that no changes on the composition of the team will be made, which means the core of the Barako Bull team led by JC Intal, Willy Wilson, Mac Baracael, and RR Garcia will remain intact.
Since no major change is in the offing for the new Phoenix Petroleum squad, Banal said the team looks forward to improving on their impressive performance in the Philippine Cup for the next conference set to open February 10. The then-Energy reached the quarterfinals but lost to GlobalPort.
“Siguro ‘yung experience last conference together, maybe we can use that in the coming conference,” said Banal, who also declined to name their import even as the team has already chosen one.
“Meron na pero hold muna (‘yung announcement). Definitely, it’s going to be an inside, outside player. A guy with a lot of energy,” added Banal.