Phoenix earns praise from Guiao: ‘Mahirap talunin itong team na ito’

Rey Joble

Posted at Jul 01 2022 10:28 PM

PBA Images
PBA Images

Take it from NLEX Road Warriors mentor Yeng Guiao who had nothing but praise for the undermanned, but hard-fighting Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters.

“Suwerte. Na-foul out si Matthew (Wright) and si Sean (Anthony). That’s really a big break for us. Tapos, wala pa si (Jason) Perkins, so mahirap talaga talunin itong team na ito. Nagtataka ako bakit dalawa pa lang panalo nila,” said Guiao. “But they’re tough. Plus, they have new guys who are stepping up. Sinuwerte lang kami talaga.”

The Road Warriors lost a 19-point lead in the first period and were on the verge of a complete collapse, until sophomore star Calvin Oftana bailed them out with two three-point baskets to send the game to overtime.

Already playing without two key players sidelined by an injury and sickness and losing two healthy marquee players, who fouled out, the Fuel Masters tried to stay in the thick of the fight but succumbed to pressure down the stretch and lost to the Road Warriors, 114-108.

“On our end, again, it’s our lack of familiarity closing games. Those last possessions, those were a bunch of guys that are rookies/young players like Larry Muyang and Tyler Tio. We also have to give credit din to NLEX, they kept on persisting and trying to really compete. That’s a trademark of a team that has been to a lot of battles together. Kami naman, that’s an experience for us that we should learn from – missed free throws, miscues in the end,” said Phoenix coach Topex Robinson.

“We just kept on fighting. At the end of the day, as much as you want to cry about it, ano ba yung natutunan namin doon? We were down and we caught up. We could have finished it, but again, this was their night, not ours.”

The Fuel Masters played without rookie guard Encho Serrano, who suffered a fractured hand, while Perkins has been sidelined by sickness. 

“Encho has a right hand injury. May fracture from our Magnolia game. Si Perk (Jason Perkins) is still recovering from his illness. The good thing is our next game is going to be Friday, so that’s going to be enough time para maka-recover yung mga players namin,” added Robinson.

“Encho is doing his cardio, kahit papaano yung conditioning andun. But Perk was badly needed in this game. I’m happy that Matt (Wright) got his groove back. Larry Muyang was solid. Tyler was solid. We’re just trying to start picking the good things about it and trying to move on. Wala na kaming magagawa doon. What we could do is learn from that. If the opportunity comes na mangyari ulit yun, we can go back to that experience.”

According to Robinson, experiencing painful losses brings valuable lessons to the squad. 

“We love games like this. We really wanted to win, but obviously there are lessons we have to learn, how we end games, we were never been to this situation before. How to catch up and value every possession. We always have to look at the positive things and I don’t have the control of the result already, wala na yun. As much as you want to be negative about it, wala na ring mangyayari. A lot of things to learn from,” he added.