NORTHPORT gave Phoenix a dose of its own medicine as coach Louie Alas admitted the Batang Pier successfully held down the Fuel Masters their entire PBA Governors Cup game and denied them from scoring a back-to-back win this conference.
The Fuel Masters, among the top defensive ballclubs in the season-ending meet, finished with a measly 36.4 percent shooting from the field, with Alex Mallari ending up leading the team in scoring with 16 points Saturday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Import Eugene Phelps only had 14 points behind a 5-of-14 clip, sophomore Jason Perkins was 5-of-12 to finish with 10, while RJ Jazul was limited to a 2-of-8 shooting for six points in the Fuel Masters’ 80-70 loss.
“Give credit naman doon sa depensa ng NorthPort kanina. They really clamped on us. Lahat, sa shooters ko, sa big man ko,” Alas pointed out.
“Si Eugene nga third quarter pa lang pagod na pagod na because of the banging. So let’s give it to coach Pido (Jarencio).”
The Batang Pier’s physicality took its toll on the Fuel Masters early on when hurting star Matthew Wright engaged Paolo Taha in a verbal tussle following an offensive foul.
“Physical lang, nagkilitian,” said Alas about the incident.
“Alam mo naman minsan kapag wala kang maitulong sa team, baka naisip ni Matt na gustung-gusto niyang makatulong,” added Alas. “Nasaktan e, kasi pini-pisikal.”
Wright was taken out following the tussle with Taha, never to return back to the game.
“Kasi nakikita ko nga ka na he’s one step late sa lahat ng sitwasyon, offensively and defensively,” said Alas of Wright, who is also nursing a plantar fasciitis on his right foot.
Besides, Alas said he’s thinking of the bigger picture for the Fuel Masters’ future games on his reason why he decided not to field back Wright.
Phoenix (2-5) will now have a 13-day rest before returning back to action on Oct. 25 against Blackwater.