Positive thinking works as Vanguardia, Phoenix look to sustain resurgence
Ariel Vanguardia has reminded his team to keep the same positive mindset that allowed it to post back-to-back comeback victories. Jerome Ascano

NOTHING beats always being positive.

That has been the case in the last two games of the Phoenix Fuel Masters and it will be the same for the rest of their elimination round assignment in the PBA Philippine Cup.

Coach Ariel Vanguardia admitted the optimistic approach of the team has helped it cope with previous setbacks that saw the Fuel Masters lose by an average of 31.5 points.

The mindset according to Vanguardia, also allowed them to pull off back-to-back comeback wins, including their epic escape against Globalport, 101-99, after rallying from as much as a 26-point deficit in the payoff period.

“When we were 2-3 after the fifth game, and we were worst in giving up points, worst in field goals, and worst in fast break, I told them let’s start anew,” recalled Vanguardia. “Six games, let’s try to be positive in the next six games.”

Vanguardia made the reminder shortly after Phoenix went down against TnT Katropa, 117-98.

What followed was the rise of the Phoenix.

The Fuel Masters erased a 10-point fourth quarter deficit to nip Meralco, 94-90, and followed it up with the stunning win over the Batang Pier in what is so far the biggest come-from-behind victory posted this season.

Despite the resurgence that  catapulted the team to the upper half of the standings at 4-3, Vanguardia keeps reminding the team to keep the same positive attitude all the way to the end of the eliminations.

“So we’re going 2-0 going to the last four games,” noted the coach who steered the Malaysia Dragons to the last Asean Basketball League (ABL) championship. “So I’m gonna tell them again, four games, let’s be positive and maybe we will have a shot at it (Top Four).”

After the Globalport win, Phoenix resumes its campaign in the all-Filipino by going up against Rain or Shine this Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Fuel Masters then meet NLEX (January 18) next, followed by Barangay Ginebra, (January 22), before capping the preliminary against Alaska (January 27).

Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos