Vanguardia forced to bank on error-prone Brown as Phelps yet to recover from injury
Phoenix import Brandon Brown had 33 points and 23 boards against 

PHOENIX coach Ariel Vanguardia is forced to keep banking on Brandon Brown with original import Eugene Phelps yet to recover from a foot injury.

The stand-in Brown again produced as expected with 33 points, 23 boards, three assists, three blocks, and one steal in the Fuel Masters' loss to Star on Wednesday night.

But his impressive numbers were dampened his 10 turnovers, caused by his tendency to force the issue at times. Brown committed seven turnovers in his debut last Friday.

“Brandon needs to adjust to the calls. And I think yung turnovers really hurt us today,” Vanguardia said. “He wanted to do it all, so he can’t do it alone. Medyo fino-force niya, so nawala sa flow. But it’s all about chemistry.”

“He’s going to play again on Friday. Eugene is not yet well, so we just have to keep fighting,” he added. “That’s how we can get out of this slump we’re in.”

[See Jeff Chan looks forward to Gilas ace Wright's return]

Phoenix, though, was also shorthanded against the Hotshtots as Willy Wilson (right knee), Chico Lanete (left hamstring), and Mike Miranda (flu) were out, while Jeff Chan suffered from cramps in the third quarter.

Gilas Pilipinas gunner Matthew Wright was present, but was in street clothes after arriving from Lebanon only the day before.

“We were really undermanned and Jeff injured himself pa, but there were times in the game that we were there,” Vanguardia said. “It’s just that we couldn’t sustain it.”

With Brown staying for now, Vanguardia is hoping his team can move and protect the ball better after dishing out only 11 assists and committing 25 turnovers – for them to snap a five-game skid.

“We’re down, pero syempre, we got to play as a team,” Vanguardia said. “The only way we can get out of it is by playing team basketball, which we didn’t do today.”

“We’ll see how we can attack better and be able to make the job easier for him (Brown) and for the locals,” he added as he Fuel Masters play the second game of a back-to-back on Friday against TNT KaTropa.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos