PHOENIX Pulse will try to pick up where it left off last season and deliver a better performance this 2019 PBA Philippine Cup.
But as much as the materials are already there, coach Louie Alas admits the Fuel Masters are still lagging in terms of preparations due to injuries to his main guys a little over a week before the new season starts.
"Hindi pa kami handa para sa season kasi may mga injuries," he said. "Si Matthew (Wright), may konting injury sa wrist and ang investment niya is yung shooting. Si Calvin (Abueva) din merong injury sa shoulder."
Wright and Abueva are expected to lead Phoenix to contention, especially after a promising showing in the 2018 Governors' Cup where the team finished second after the eliminations.
Unfortunately, the Fuel Masters' inexperience bit them the hardest when the playoffs rolled on as they wasted their twice-to-beat advantage and bowed to Meralco in the quarterfinals.
As deflating as that setback was, Alas is hoping that the players have learned their lessons as they aim to give the powerhouse teams a run for their money in the 2019 PBA season.
"Wala pa talaga kaming experience during that time. Siguro nakakuha na kami ng experience doon sa last two games namin and I hope yung experience na nakuha namin doon, madala namin this coming conference," he said.
"Sa akin naman, basta nandoon kami sa mid pack, ok ako. Kung papasok kami ng quarters, baka yung nakuha namin na experience, kung bibigyan kami ng pagkakataon, I think hindi na namin palalagpasin yun."
Aside from Wright and Abueva, Phoenix will also rely on presumptive Rookie of the Year Jason Perkins, veterans RJ Jazul, Willy Wilson and JC Intal, as well as newcomers Alex Mallari and Dave Marcelo to make some noise this year.
For Alas, still, progress will heavily bank on the Fuel Masters' health and readiness of his core group.
"Siguro kung lahat kami healthy, I guess we can compete. Kaya sana healthy si Calvin, healthy si Matthew, healthy si Alex, at sana healthy kaming lahat para wala kaming masabi na panghihinayang," he said.