PHOENIX will have to make do with a shorthanded point guard rotation when it takes on Meralco in the PBA Philippine Cup on Wednesday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Fuel Masters are missing the services of LA Revilla, who is expected to sit out the rest of the elimination round due to a hairline fracture in his right, shooting hand, which he hurt early in the team’s 74-72 win over TNT last Wednesday.
Phoenix has three games left in the eliminations, and coach Louie Alas said Revilla could be absent in those games – and even beyond.
“Matagal kasi hairline fracture, sa kamay, so hindi mo pwede hindi ipahinga,” Alas told SPIN.ph after practice on the eve of their matchup against the Bolts at 4:30 p.m. “Talagang rest yun.”
Revilla's absence leaves RJ Jazul and Gelo Alolino as the only playmakers in the Fuel Masters’ rotation, prompting them to reactivate journeyman Mike Gamboa.
“Wala naman ako makuhang beteranong gwardiya eh (sa free agency), yun yung may alam ng sistema ko,” Alas said.
While they lack playmakers, the Fuel Masters are wary of the Bolts’ own playmakers in Baser Amer, Chris Newsome, and bench sparkplug Anjo Caram, as well as stretch forwards Nino Canaleta and Reynel Hugnatan.
“We have to contain their two guards: Amer and Newsome and their forwards Canaleta and Hugnatan, plus, yung really playing well: si Caram, very efficient,” Alas said as he teams looks to get back-to-back victories and their fifth overall in nine games to move closer to a postseason berth.
“Dito, isang panalo mo, ang laki ng angat mo; isang talo mo, ang laki ng bagsak mo, and we’re aware of it,” Alas continued. “Alam namin ang importance ng game. At this point in time, I told them dapat playoff mode na tayo.”
The Fuel Masters, though, have to be careful of a Bolts side that’s eager to arrest a three-game losing streak and grab only their third win in nine games.
“Mahirap kalaban ang team na kailangan na kailangan ng panalo, so we have to come out really, really strong, kasi hindi yan pupunta dun just to roll over and die,” Alas said.