TNT Katropa stakes its unbeaten record as it braces for a rising Phoenix side on Friday when the PBA Governors’ Cup goes on the road anew at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.
After having up-and-down campaigns that left them underachieving in the past three conferences, the Texters have been finally performing as expected, winning their first five games of the season-ending tournament.
Despite drawing sub-par efforts from their imports — Mario Little in the first four games and Mychal Ammons in their last game, the Texters have turned to their powerhouse local crew to get the job done, the latest a 109-89 blowout of Blackwater last Saturday.
But the Texters face a tricky test in the Fuel Masters, who have also started to get a rhythm with two straight wins after starting their first conference under coach Ariel Vanguardia with three straight losses.
Tipoff is at 4:15 p.m. in a prelude to a matchup between second-running San Miguel Beer and GlobalPort, two teams coming off hard-earned double-overtime victories.
Prolific import Eugene Phelps has left a huge imprint on the Fuel Masters’ mini winning streak, living up to his tag as 'El Destructor' after replacing ineffective Marcus Simmons.
“Nakakuha kami ng bagong import na sobrang laki ng contribution sa amin,” Phoenix prized recruit Cyrus Baguio said. “Tingin ko yun yung big impact sa amin eh, kasi na-o-open up talaga yung mga shooters namin tsaka sa depensa, malaki yung presence niya sa gitna.”
Baguio was among the beneficiaries of Phelps getting most of the attention as he scattered 22 points on 7-of-11 shooting in just 26 minutes in their 100-94 win over Mahindra last Friday.
Still, Baguio is reminding his team to stay grounded, although remaining focused on its goal to reach the postseason.
“Sa ngayon, hindi ko pa masabi kasi dalawa pa lang yung panalo namin,” Baguio said. “Sana lang lumakas pa kami at makuha yung goal namin na pumasok sa playoffs.”