PHOENIX coach Ariel Vanguardia wants his Fuel Masters team to be known as a high-octane squad ready to run opponents ragged in the coming Governors Cup.
Vanguardia has begun practices with the Fuel Masters to start a three-year program in a bid to form a competitive team in the PBA. He knows, though, that forming a title contender takes time, and has thus set a modest target for the Fuel Masters in the season-ending conference.
“Ma-lay down ‘yung foundation, makita ng tao ‘yung identity na we are a high-octane basketball team kasi gasolina. ‘Yung image na kapag gasoline ng Phoenix, siguradong maganda ‘yung makina mo, maganda serbisyo, at reliable,” said Vanguardia on Wednesday.
So far, Vanguardia likes what he sees with the team that he inherited, although he is not closing the door on possible trades that could improve the Fuel Masters.
“Very promising. It’s a good combination of youth and veterans. We are giving them an opportunity to prove themselves this conference especially, but we are not closing the door if there is a good trade coming," said Vanguardia.
“If not, we will be giving everyone an opportunity to prove that they deserve na mag-invest ang Phoenix sa team kasi most of them are expiring,” he added.
Among the holdovers in the Pheonix squad are JC Intal, Willie Wilson, Mick Pennisi, and Chico Lanete, as well as newly-acquired players Simon Enciso, Norbert Torres, and Mark Cruz, among others.
“We are banking on a three-year program to be competitive,” said Vanguardia, who also bared that they have yet to sign an import for the Governors’ Cup.