Phoenix relishing underdog role as Fuel Masters try to topple top seed TNT 
Eugene Phelps and the Fuel Masters try to get past the Texters after a morale-boosting win over the Painters. Jaime Campos

PHOENIX relishes its underdog role as it seeks to topple top seed TNT Katropa in their PBA Governors’ Cup quarterfinal matchup on Saturday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.

Oozing confidence after stunning Rain or Shine, 105-94, to book the last ticket to the playoffs last Wednesday, the Fuel Masters aim to pull off another upset, this time against the twice-to-beat Texters to drag their pairing into a deciding match.

“We got to win two games, but we just got to take it one game at a time,” Phoenix import Eugene Phelps said. “If we get that first win, they’re the ones who are going to be nervous and anything can happen in the second game.”

Tipoff of the road game is at 5:15 p.m., preceded by the quarterfinal matchup between twice-to-beat Meralco and Mahindra.

The Texters outdueled the Fuel Masters, 124-117, in their elimination-round meeting last month in Antipolo where TNT Asian import Mike Madanly caught fire with eight three-pointers to finish with 30 points off the bench.

“They blew us out last time,” Fuel Masters coach Ariel Vanguardia said. “It was Madanly’s birthday.”

Good thing, the Fuel Masters have their own prolific reinforcement in Phelps, who scattered 40 points on top of 14 rebounds, six assists, and two blocks in their shock win over the Elasto Painters.

While main import Mychal Ammons has shown more aggressiveness on offense, the Texters still rely more on their powerhouse local crew led by Jayson Castro, the leading Best Player of the Conference candidate.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos