Alas feels Cone managed his substitutions vs Phoenix with SMB game in mind
Phoenix coach Louie Alas wins this match-up against Ginebra's Tim Cone. Jerome Ascano

PHOENIX coach Louie Alas felt Ginebra counterpart Tim Cone waved the white flag early in the Fuel Masters’ 87-82 win in the face of the Gin Kings' grueling back-to-back schedule in the PBA Philippine Cup.

With the Gin Kings playing two games in three days, the second on Sunday night in an anticipated matchup against San Miguel Beer, Alas felt Cone started to look ahead as early as the third quarter when they were trailing by double digits.

As proof, the league’s most successful coach sent LA Tenorio to the bench at the four-minute, 34-mark of the period, with the Gin Kings down, 47-61, and never recalled his star point guard.

“Kasi may game sila sa Sunday, kita mo hindi na ibinalik si LA, so siguro looking forward din sya sa game na yun on Sunday,” Alas said.

“I might be wrong,” the Phoenix mentor was quick to add.

Despite not having their best playmaker on the floor in the payoff period, the Gin Kings managed to mount a late comeback behind Scottie Thompson, cutting a 24-point deficit to just three points in the waning seconds.

Alas anticipated the late-game wobble for the Fuel Masters.

“Talagang nagde-develop pa lang kami ng toughness mentally especially in the endgame,” Alas admitted. “Yun yung kailangan naming pag-aralan. Sabi ko nga sa kanila, we’re happy we won. But we can be happier kung masu-sustain natin yung lamang natin.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos