Eugene Phelps was convinced Phoenix will reach final, but now believes TNT will go all the way
Phoenix's Eugene Phelps says TNT, strong and deep, will lift the Governors Cup trophy. Jaime Campos

ANTIPOLO – Eugene Phelps believes TNT Katropa will go all the way to the Promised Land, seeing how the top-seeded side dismantled Phoenix in their PBA Governors’ Cup quarterfinal matchup on Saturday night.

The Fuel Masters lost to the Texters after wasting a solid start and allowing TNT to break away late in the third quarter.

“Honestly, I think they might win the championship,” Phelps said. “They got a complete team.”

[See Jayson Castro torches Phoenix for 42 points as TNT Katropa seals place in semis]

First, there’s Jayson Castro, who dropped 42 points. Then there’s the rest of the powerhouse local crew composed of Ranidel de Ocampo, Ryan Reyes, Larry Fonacier, and Kelly Williams. Finally, they have two imports in Mychal Ammons and Mike Madanly who fit perfectly into the system.

“Castro, he’s pretty nice. I knew he was good, but he’s pretty good,” Phelps said. “They got bigs, they got wings, they shoot the three, they play defense, so I think they’re the top team in the league. They’ll probably win it in my opinion.”

Phelps continued his fine play, tallying 39 points and 17 boards, but found little help from the locals as JC Intal scored only two points, while Willy Wilson was held scoreless in almost 23 minutes of play.

[See In-form Meralco asserts mastery of Mahindra to earn place in PBA semifinals]

“Everybody tried hard,” Phelps insisted. “They’re (TNT) just a pretty good team. It was close at halftime then they started leaking out, getting easy fastbreak layups. It’s just like the mental stuff (that proved a factor).”

“But we played hard today,” he added. “We tried out best, but we came short to the better team.”

Phelps was hoping the Fuel Masters would get as far as title round that he delayed signing with another team from either Australia or Europe.

“My agent, he’s been talking to a couple of teams, but they can’t finalize anything because I was hoping we’ll go to the championship, so I told them I ain’t gonna sign a contract until it’s over here,” Phelps said. “So whatever pays me the most, I’ll be there. We’ll see what happens.”

But the prolific import out of Long Beach State expressed his desire to return to the country next year.

“I love it here,” he said. “Everybody show you love. I love my teammates. It’s probably my favorite league I played in so far. Hopefully I’ll be back here next year.”


Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos