PHOENIX gave a preview of what the PBA 42nd season will be for the franchise after signing five players to contracts on Tuesday, including top rookie recruit Matthew Wright.
The 24-year-old Wright, plucked by the team out of the Gilas cadet pool in the recent rookie draft, agreed to a three-year max deal of P8.5 million. He became the second to get the maximum allowable contract for rookies after Mac Belo got the same deal with Blackwater on Monday.
"We are almost intact with just a few rookies joining us," said coach Ariel Vanguardia.
Also getting a contract renewal with the Fuel Masters were shooting guard John Wilson, Mark Borboran, Prince Caperal, and Michael Miranda.
The four were all given one-year extensions by Phoenix management.
[See Big deal for 'Big Mac']
Point guard Gelo Alolino, another rookie selected by the Fuel Masters, failed to come over to the team office and formally sign his contract, although he already agreed in principle to the two-year contract offered to him.
As one of the highly-touted Fil-foreign players in this year's rookie batch, the 6-foot-3 Wright is expected to assume a major role in the Fuel Masters' bid to make the semifinals this season.
"Matthew will play a big role in our team moving forward," said Vanguardia of his prized-rookie, with who he won a championship with the KL Malaysia Dragons in the Asean Basketball League (ABL) prior to him joining Phoenix.
Borboran and Co., on the other hand, beef up a suppporting cast to a core expected to be led by JC Intal, Cyrus Baguio, Willy Wilson, Chico Lanete, and rising guard Simon Enciso.
"John, Mike.Prince, and Borbs were rewarded with their hardwork," said the Phoenix coach, who added the Fuel Masters tried to lure some free agents through trades that unfortunately, didn't materialize for them.