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    Phoenix assures players, staff no plan to sell PBA team

    Oct 17, 2022
    Phoenix bench
    PHOTO: Marlo Cueto

    AN assurance from management that everything will be taken care of may have sparked the rise of the Phoenix.

    The Fuel Masters are on a two-game winning streak in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup since news broke out about the financial troubles facing team owner Dennis Uy.

    The team lost its first three games of the conference when its predicament was further compounded after a notice of garnishment from a Nasugbu, Batangas Regional Trial Court was served to the PBA and 17 other banks owned by Uy over a complaint of unpaid debts.

    READ: Phoenix pulls off Friday shocker as Ginebra falls flat

    Naturally, the entire team was thrown in disarray as the future of the franchise was suddenly in doubt.

    “Siyempre hindi maiiwasan na kung anu-ano ang iniisip, anu-ano ang dini-discuss (ng mga players),” said team manager Paolo Bugia.

    To ease the tension, the day after the news came out, team governor Atty. Raymond Zorilla visited the Fuel Masters in their practice.

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    “Si Boss (Zorilla) pumunta sa practice when there was a lot of internal issues. Ang concern niya yung mga player madi-distract,” recalled Bugia. “So he reassured the team that we are moving forward, preparing for the games, and we’re here to win more games.”

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      Zorilla was also the bearer of good news.

      “What Boss said exactly was they’re not selling,” according to Bugia. “There’s no basis.”

      The Phoenix team manager understands the nature of social media as speculations began to circulate about the franchise now being for sale.

      “May mga factors talaga, whatever it is. Sa social media iba-iba ang lumalabas, nagdudugtung- dugtong doon, and people start coming up with their assumptions kaya nakaka-distract talaga,” he said.

      [READ: Topex praises players for being pros amid 'distraction']

      “And for the players, malaking bagay yun that Atty. Zorilla went to practice and kinausap yung team. And that things in terms of corporate, business, hina-handle naman yun. At least that addressed the entire issue na business as usual (for the team).

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      That was the time when Phoenix was preparing for its game against then undefeated NLEX Road Warriors.

      The Fuel Masters went on and defeated the Road Warriors, 111-97, and then followed it up with a huge 101-93 upset of Barangay Ginebra.

      Looking back now, Bugia said the Fuel Masters didn’t lose badly in their first three games despite playing with personnel shortage due to injuries.

      “To be honest, yung first three games nandun naman kami. Maganda yung samahan. Hindi lang natatapos yung fourth quarter,” he said about losses to NorthPort, Blackwater, and guest team Bay Area Dragons.

      “There were a lot of games where we need to finish better.”

      Finish better. Hopefully that says a lot about Phoenix’s PBA stint as well.

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      PHOTO: Marlo Cueto
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