PHOENIX comes to the PBA Philippine Cup playoffs in full force as big man Doug Kramer and new acquisition Karl Dehesa are expected to suit up in Game One of the team’s quarterfinals series against Star.
The 5:15 p.m. match at the Mall of Asia Arena marks the first time both Kramer and Dehesa will play for the Fuel Masters this conference.
“Yes, Doug will play,” confirmed coach Ariel Vanguardia on the eve of the opener of the short best-of-three series.
Kramer, 33, missed the entire elimination round as he recovers from a mild stroke brought about by a congenital heart disease that was diagnosed during the off-season. It came at a time when Phoenix just acquired him in a one-on-one trade with Globalport for Mick Pennisi.
The former Atenean was supposed to play in Phoenix’s final game in the elimination against Alaska, but failed to suit up after the Fuel Masters notified the league about his activation way past the customary deadline teams are allowed to make changes in their roster.
League rules give teams at least 24 hours before game time to submit changes in their rosters.
Phoenix lost the game, 106-85, and tumbled to no. 6 in the playoffs standings, setting the team to a quarterfinal duel against no. 3 Star.
“Doug us already cleared to play,” said Vanguardia of the 6-foot-5 Kramer. “He could be a welcome addition in the playoffs.”
Dehesa on the other hand, was acquired by the Fuel Masters just last week from the unrestricted free agent list after seeing minimal action with Globalport this conference.
“Karl is a welcome addition to our backcourt, He gives us more flexibility and stability as he can alternate or play alongside Simon (Enciso),” said the Phoenix coach.