Eugene Phelps praises Ginebra defense, trusts Phoenix coaches to get offense firing again
Phoenix import Eugene Phelps missed 17 of 24 shots against Ginebra. Jerome Ascano

ANTIPOLO – Eugene Phelps conceded Ginebra's defense found a way to shackle him in Phoenix’s 96-87 loss to the Gin Kings in their PBA Governors’ Cup encounter on Wednesday night.

The prolific Fuel Masters import, who has scored at least 45 points thrice this conference and came in averaging 37.3 points, was held to just 25 markers after missing 17 of his 25 shots in almost 44 minutes on the court.

“They had a pretty good defense,” Phelps admitted after the game. “Every time I got the ball, I was getting double-, triple-teamed, so they had a good defensive scheme on me.”

The 6-foot-5 forward, however, insisted his frustrations were only over his team’s failure to take advantage of their chance to get into a playoff for the fourth seed - and  twice-to-beat incentive - in the quarterfinals.

“I’m just frustrated we lost,” Phelps said. “I really don’t care about the points or whatever, but I’m frustrated we lost when we had a chance to be in the Top Four.”

[See Ginebra denies Phoenix an outright place in PBA playoffs]

Gin Kings coach Tim Cone said it didn’t take one guy to stop the prolific import.

“Phelps is just a beast. He was really incredible, but I thought we had a great defensive job on him,” the champion coach said. “We tried to make him play against five guys rather than allow him to just go one-on-one. And I thought we had him tamed in the first half.”

“But he got smart in the second half, started kicking the ball out and forcing us to spread our defense a little more,” he added.

The Gin Kings put up a solid defensive stand against the entire Fuel Masters side, which made just 30 of their 84 shots for a woeful 36 percent.

“Our offense, we’re usually in the hundreds, but lately, it’s been (down),” Phelps said. “I don’t really know how to fix that, but it’s up to the coaches. We have a good coaching staff and I trust them. I think they’ll figure something out.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos