After drilling yet another dubious mark on a hapless squad, the waiting game begins for Phoenix.
The Fuel Masters’ ultimate fate in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup is not within control of coach Topex Robinson and his team, but he believes they can still have a say on how to stretch their campaign in the midseason tournament.
“At this point, we don’t have control [of] who we’re gonna face, but we have total control of our team,” Robinson said following the Fuel Masters’ 135-84 junking of the Terrafirma Dyip at Philsports Arena in Pasig City.
The lopsided result was a fitting sendoff for the Dyip, who have had an unfortunate conference. They set the second longest losing streak in league history at 25 and lost by more than 50 points twice. And at one point during the game, Phoenix flirted with the possibility of dealing Terrafirma the worst loss in league history when it led by 55 points.
The Dyip ended the conference at 1-11, capping off another disappointing campaign that saw the struggling franchise miss the quarterfinals for the 14th straight time.
More importantly for the Fuel Masters, however, their victory may result in either a playoff for the last quarterfinals spot or a game in the next round against a higher-seeded foe.
For now, Phoenix can settle on giving itself time to prepare for what lies ahead.
“We need everybody’s help for the playoffs,” Robinson said following Phoenix’s rollercoaster journey.
The Fuel Masters, reeling from Matthew Wright’s departure for Japan, lost their first three games before going on an incredible turn that saw five consecutive victories, only for them to lose the next three matches which they were able to end at the expense of the import-less Dyip.
Import Kaleb Wesson and Jason Perkins, who played the last four games after he was initially ruled out for the season due to an injury, are expected to be among the figures that should step for the second phase of Phoenix’s campaign.
But Phoenix hopes to see RR Garcia, who topscored with 20 points, Sean Anthony, dynamic rookie Encho Serrano and Javee Mocon to deliver as well.
“What’s important for us is to get the guys on the same page all the time,” said Robinson. “A lot of learning again for us. We are reloading our team with the guys that we have.”
In the second game, San Miguel Beer eliminated TNT with a 119-99 flogging to close in on a playoffs spot at 6-5 (win-loss).
The defeat ended TNT’s campaign at 4-8, marking the first time the franchise missed the playoffs since the 2018 Governors’ Cup.
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