RJ Jazul had mixed emotions upon learning that Ariel Vanguardia was being replaced as Phoenix coach.
Jazul was sad to see the man who recruited him for Phoenix head to the exits, but was glad nonetheless it was his former college coach Louie Alas who will now call the shots for the rebuilding Fuel Masters.
He also knows what that entails.
With Alas at the helm, the Fuel Masters are expected to turn into a defense-minded team that will press at every opportunity - something that was immediately introduced to the team right in its first official practice under Alas on Monday.
Still, the Phoenix gunner is no longer surprised by the shift in philosophy, having played for the multi-titled coach during his time at Letran.
"Exciting," he said after practice. "Para kang bumabata. Since college magkasama na kami. Pati sa Alaska. Bittersweet din kasi nawala sila coach Ariel, pero new beginning for us. Hopefully mag work out."
After only one day of practice at the Upper Deck Gym, Jazul could see a lot of promise for the team which selected big man Jason Perkins with the No. 4 pick overall in the PBA draft last October 29.
He had nothing but praise for the former La Salle forward, who brings youth and bulk to a Phoenix frontline bannered by veterans Doug Kramer and Willie Wilson.
"Malaking improvement sa amin sa bigs. I know he can play 3 and 4 e. Added size for us. Malaking tulong si Jason and other rookies. Hopefully mag-jel agad at mag-work for us," he said.
Jazul sees a bright future ahead for the franchise.
"Sobrang positive kami," he said. "Syempre ako dahil alam ko na yung sistema, alam ko yung kayang dalhin ni coach and coaching sttaff for us.
"Pero syempre it's up to us naman. Kahit sinong coach ilagay mo, kung yung players di susunod (wala rin), so kailangan kaming mga players mag buy in sa sistema."