LOUIE Alas admitted Phoenix first PBA semifinals foray was a learning experience.
Alas said the experience gained in the Philippine Cup playoffs, especially in the Fuel Masters' Final Four battle with powerhouse San Miguel, augurs well for the franchise's campaign in the seasons to come starting with next month's Commissioner's Cup.
"Medyo short kami pero madami kaming natutunan dito (sa series)," said Alas after the Fuel Masters' best performance in franchise history came to an end on Thursday following their 105-94 loss to the Beermen in Game 5 at the Astrodome.
The top seeded Fuel Masters lost the best-of-seven series, 4-1. But Alas was proud of the way his team pushed the four-time reigning champion to the limit.
"San Miguel is very, very strong team at ang hirap talunin niyan," he said.
Phoenix actually overachieved this conference alone.
The team ended up a top seed for the first time in franchise history and went on to make the semifinals for the first time ever, where it avoided being swept by a championship-caliber unit like the Beermen.
"So kailangan next conference ganito pa rin yung goal namin kasi pag nag-set ka ng goal, dapat hindi bumababa. At least mapantayan ito or ma-surpass mo," said Alas.
Phoenix will have former Best Import Rob Dozier for its reinforcement in the mid-season conference, giving Alas even more confidence about the team's campaign.
Alas and Dozier worked together for Alaska when the franchise last won a championship during the 2013 Commissioner's Cup.
"Sana matulungan niya kami sa weakness namin which is the paint. So hopefully siya yung mag-fill in sa weakness namin," said the Phoenix coach.