EVEN the great teams had to undergo the kind of playoff loss Phoenix went through Friday night.
Although a tough spill to swallow, coach Louie Alas said the Fuel Masters need to learn from the experience of their 108-103 overtime setback against the Meralco Bolts for the remaining semifinals berth in the PBA Governors Cup.
The second-seeded Fuel Masters held a 46-30 first half lead and were up 91-84 inside the final four minutes but were outworked and outplayed by the seventh-seeded Bolts when the game hung in the balance.
Alas later admitted the Bolts’ experience as a team proved to be the key at crunch time, having been in the finals of this same conference for the last two years,
“Natalo kami sa experience, And siguro na outcoach din ako nun last part ng fourth quarter. So lesson learned,” said the Phoenix coach as he slowly came out of the team dugout at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Perhaps it wasn’t meant to be, added Alas as the Fuel Masters own a twice-to-beat advantage against the Bolts heading to the playoffs.
“It’s within our control e, and hindi namin na-control. At yun ang experience na ibinigay ng Meralco sa kanila,” he said.
But it’s a process most teams go through as what sophomore wingman Matthew Wright preached to the team at the locker room after the game, according to Alas.
“Sabi nga ni Matthew kanina ‘yung Chicago bago naging champion, ang daming dugong inabot sa Detroit. So kailangan nating gawin yan,” he said. “Yung San Antonio bago naging champion yan, kung talunin ng Utah yan, e.”
“For us to go the next level, kailangan ma-experience mo yung deeper playoffs,” said Alas. “We’re almost there.”
Hopefully, Phoenix will get to rise out of the experience and emerge a better team,” said its coach.
“We just have to come back strong in the All-Filipino,” Alas said. “We’ll work on it. The last thing na puwede kong gawin dito is mag give up sa inyo.”