DESPITE a decent performance in the PBA preseason, Louie Alas still considers Phoenix a work in progress heading to the Philippine Cup.
Although there were positive signs shown by the Fuel Masters in their short, four-team pocket tournament against Rain or Shine, NLEX, and Alaska, Alas feels a lot of room for improvements are needed for the team to be a playoff contender again.
“It’s good kasi nanalo naman kami kahit paano. Pero when I reviewed it (game tapes), grabe ang bad habits, ang dami naming breakdown.”
The Fuel Masters beat the Aces and Road Warriors to finish the pocket meet with a 2-1 record, second best behind eventual champion Rain or Shine. They actually ended up tied with the Elasto Painters, who ran away with the title by virtue of their 95-91 win in overtime on Chris Tiu’s three-pointer.
But Alas was pleased with the way rookie Jason Perkins played and the contributions made by new acquisitions LA Revilla and Justin Chua. Perkins, picked fourth overall by Phoenix in the draft, topscored for Fuel Masters with 21 points in their 111-104 victory over the Road Warriors.
And then there’s the continuous improvement of sophomore Matthew Wright and Joseph Eriobu, both of whom Alas expects to play a major factor in Phoenix’s campaign this season.
The veteran coach said he’s still on the lookout for a few players who can contribute to the team as it tries to make it back to the playoffs.
“I’m still looking for extra pieces to be competitive,” Alas stressed.
Currently trying out for a spot with the Fuel Masters are Rey Guevarra and Jam Cortez, two players who suited up for Alas while he was still coach of Letran.
The Fuel Masters failed to make the playoffs of the season-ending Governors Cup after finishing their campaign with nine straight losses, prompting management to revamp its coaching staff.