New coach Ariel Vanguardia to start from scratch as he plots rise of the Phoenix
New coach Ariel Vanguardia says Phoenix will be starting from scratch. Dante Peralta

ARIEL Vanguardia says his first order of business after being named new head coach of the Phoenix Fuel Masters is to strengthen the team's foundation and establish a winning culture in the young PBA franchise.

Vanguardia said the Fuel Masters will start from scratch as he embarks on a three-year plan that he hopes will turn the fortunes of a team which Phoenix inherited from the unsuccessful Barako Bull franchise.

“We are all starting from zero. I told the guys that spots are open. So right now, we are all working on the team’s culture which will be our foundation,” said Vanguardia.

Vanguardia is happy that Phoenix accepted the program he planned to put in place to build a squad that can eventually contend for a championship.

“I feel so blessed that my three-year plan happens to align with the company’s vision for]he franchise. It’s not just rebuilding, but really a new beginning,” said Vanguardia.

[See Vanguardia replaces Koy Banal as Phoenix coach]

Vanguardia said he foresees new development will come in the coming months before the Governors’ Cup opens, tentatively on July 15.

“Our target is to get better and lay the foundation,” said Vanguardia.

The new PBA coach also shared that he will definitely miss his former ballclub Westports Malaysia Dragons, who finally captured the Asean Basketball League (ABL) crown in the 2015-2016 season after six years with the team.

“I will definitely miss the Dragons. The whole country (Malaysia) welcomed me with open arms for the last six years. I would still help them in any way I could,” said Vanguardia.

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