PHOENIX and Star bank on their versatile lineups to give each other different looks as both teams face off on Saturday in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Fuel Masters and the Hotshots thrive in small ball for their respective transition games, but are also capable of fielding big lineups that will be put to the test in the lone game at 5 p.m. of the regular Petron Saturday special.
Despite coming off the bench, JC Intal remains the focal point of the Fuel Masters’ offense and typifies his team’s versatility as he can play either forward spot – as a natural small forward against big lineups or as a stretch power forward against small lineups.
“JC can play multiple positions…so we’ll see how we match up against Star because they like to play three bigs and two point guards,” Fuel Masters coach Ariel Vanguardia said after their 114-104 win over Mahindra last Sunday. “We’ll see how we’ll match up with that lineup.”
The Hotshots, however, recently thrived in a small lineup led by Paul Lee, Jio Jalalon, and Mark Barroca, a three-guard tandem that flummoxed NLEX in 99-75 win last Wednesday.
“Meron talaga kaming combination na ganun (small),” Hotshots coach Chito Victolero said. “May combination din naman ng bigs. Depende lang rin sa opponent namin.”
Whoever he puts on the floor, Victolero wants to see them play tough defense against a Fuel Masters side that’s gunning for a third win in four games that will give them a share of the lead with Rain or Shine.
“We want to be the number one or two team sa defense sa league, and now we’re number four, so I think nagre-respond sila dun,” the new Hotshots coach said as his team finally barged into the win column after two losses.
“Nakalimutan ko lang konti yung chemistry namin sa offense, but now, nakatutok na ako dun at yung depensa namin, nandyan na. Hopefully, yung chemistry sa mga sunod na laro magawa namin,” he added.