Phoenix is a Different Team- Yeng Guiao

(Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

NLEX coach stays wary of the Fuel Masters ahead of their encounter

The Phoenix Fuel Masters have come a long way from the way they debuted back in the 2016 Commissioner’s Cup. Even though they lost their first game under their new coach, Louie Alas to open the 2017 Philippine Cup, the Fuel Masters bounced back against the still winless, Kia Picanto as the former exploded for 125 points. That’s why one particular coach in the PBA remains wary of what this Phoenix team can do. That coach is none other than Yeng Guiao whose NLEX Road Warriors are scheduled to open 2018 with an encounter against the team who beat them during the pre-season.
And Yeng Guiao has all the reasons to worry about the Phoenix Fuel Masters. After all, it was Phoenix who handed Guiao his first ever defeat in his coaching stint with NLEX although the Road Warriors took the next two encounters. And aside from having a new coach in Alas, the Fuel Masters have a drastically different roster compared to what they had before.
Yeng Guiao took notice that Phoenix has a healthy Matthew Wright and of course, one of his former players in Jeff Chan who played under Guiao during his stint with the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters. But more importantly, the occasionally hot-headed coach also noted that the Fuel Masters are now bannered by one of the promising rookies in the 2017 draft: Jason Perkins.
Aside from the key players and the new coach of Phoenix, Yeng Guiao has other things to worry about with regards to their first game of the year. The coach is worried that the holiday break took some of the sharpness from the Road Warriors which enabled Kiefer Ravena and company to win the first two games of the new season.

Conclusion

Fortunately for the Road Warriors, Yeng Guiao is someone who always gets what he wants from his players. If he demands 110% focus on the game at hand, he will definitely get it. Why? Who would enjoy being yelled at by Yeng Guiao aside from being benched? Unfortunately for the Fuel Masters, they have no one to stop Kiefer Ravena.
Prediction: NLEX will win.

Watson, Fajardo Lead the Way for SMB

SMB Wins a close one against Phoenix

The Kraken led the way with another dominant performance (Photo by PBA Media Bureau)
The Phoenix Fuel Masters took the lead early on in the first quarter, fell behind by double figures during the next 2 quarters before coming back alive during the dying minutes of the 4th quarter. In the end, it was the championship experience of June Mar Fajardo and the rest of the San Miguel Beermen that prevailed as they avoided an upset by defeating the eliminated Phoenix team, 109-107. And doing so wasn’t easy either even for an experienced team.
Like the other teams who are already assured of their respective quarterfinal slots, the San Miguel Beermen knew they have to win their remaining games if they want to improve their position come the quarterfinals.

Here’s the thing, if the Beermen win this game, they will be tied with the NLEX Road Warriors for the 4th spot which will give them a chance to earn a twice-to-beat advantage. If they lose, they will be tied with the Rain o Shine Elasto Painters for the 5th spot. Either way, the Beermen will be tied with another team and if you are a team who is gunning for a rare grand slam, you would surely prefer to be fighting for a twice-to-beat incentive in the quarterfinals, right?

After Fuel Masters import Brandon Brown scored 17 points in the first quarter alone, the Beermen, led Alex Cabagnot, June Mar Fajardo and Chris Ross, buckled up on defense as they successfully contained Brown during the entire second quarter alone which enable Leo Austria and his team to mount a comeback and eventually take the lead 56-52 heading into halftime.

While both teams struggled offensively, only shooting 37% in the field during the first half, the 2-pt field goal percentage of San Miguel proved to be the difference as they outperformed Phoenix 50% to 42% in that category during the entire game. Free throw shooting has also played an important part as well as total assists as the Beerman has proven again and again that they can beat any team if they are fluidly passing the ball around, looking for the best scoring option.

When the 3rd quarter started, the Beerman wasted no time pouring point after point after point. Marcio Lassiter converted on back-to-back three pointers and then the Kraken followed with a 3-point play, forcing Phoenix Coach Art Vanguardia to call a timeout with 9:30 to play in the quarter. The Beermen went on to keep a double-digit lead during majority of the third quarter.
Then, things got interesting in the 4th after Phoenix trimmed down San Miguel’s lead to 3 with under 8 minutes to spare in the game only to be answered by another Lassiter trey.

Both teams traded both made and missed baskets in the next few minutes of the 4th. The Fuel Master got as close as 2 points, at 98-96 with five minutes on Matthew Wright’s free throws. Then, on Brandon Brown’s free throws, the game was tied at 100 with under 3 minutes to go until the Beerman answered with 4 straight points to put their lead up by 4-points with under 2 minutes left.

The Fuel Masters still had one more chance to inch closer but Mathew Wright uncharacteristically air-balled a 3-pointer with under a minute left. To make things worse, Arwind Santos was able to tap the ball away from Brandon Brown then Fajardo was fouled and made both free throws. Jeff Chan later scores on a lay-up to cut the lead to 4, at 106-102 with 21 seconds to go in the game. Cabagnot made 1 of 2 free throws after winning a jump ball and then JC Intal nailed a  trey with under 10 seconds only to for Cabagnot to make 2 more throws to ice the game with 6 seconds to go.

The Fuel Masters scored on another basket with 1 second remaining but that proved to be their last hurrah as the Beermen dribbled away the clock off a timeout.

Terrence Watson led the way for the Beermen with 26 points to go along with 11 rebounds. Fajardo, for his part, finished with 24 points, 17 rebounds and 6 blocked shots. Alex Cabagnot also finished with 24 points and 13 rebounds to complement the performance of Watson and Fajardo.
On the other side, Brandon Brown had 30 points while Jeff Chan had 18 points on 8 out of 16 field goal shooting. JC Intal followed up with 12 points on his own. In fact, the bench of Phoenix actually outscored their San Miguel counterparts 33-22 but we all know that the Beermen have one of the best starting units in the PBA today.
Scores:
San Miguel – 109
Watson 26, Fajardo 24, Cabagnot 24, Santos 15, Lassiter 13, Ganuelas-Rosser 4, Espinas 3, Ross 0, Heruela 0, McCarthy 0, Pessumal 0, Reyes 0, Agovida 0, Semerad 0, Tubid 0, de Ocampo 0
Phoenix – 107
Brown 30, Chan 18, Intal 12, Eriobu 10, Alolino 9, W. Wilson 8, Dehasa 7, Wright 5, Lanete 4, Kramer 2, Jazul 2, J. Wilson 0, Hayes 0, Miranda 0, Ababou 0
Quarter scoring:
23-28, 56-52, 86-77, 109-107

How Would you Grade Jeff Chan’s First Game as a Phoenix Fuel Masters?

Jeff Chan was vintage in his first game scoring 27 points

Jeff Chan Phoenix Jersey
Get out there and play! Jeff Chan doesn’t need to warm up with his new team as he was ready to play in his very first game wearing the Phoenix jersey.
The 33-year-old Jeff Chan from Bacolod who last played for Phoenix immediately went to work and played a total of 33 minutes while scoring the second highest output for his team. Jeff who is known for his outside shooting attempted 5 shots from beyond the arc and sinking 3 of them. His game was so good he was at the right time and the right place to be able to score.
Below are the highlights of  Jeff Chan’s first game as a member of the Phoneix Fuel Masters
– 27 points
– 3/5 three-point shooting
– Chan had an overall FG of 73%(11/15)
– 5 assists
– 4 rebounds
– 4 steals
– 7 turnovers
– 1 loss
Jeff Chan offensively made headline but his team lost and 7 turnovers were just too ugly to see. Overall, I would still say that this was a good first game for Jeff Chan who may be up for a big role with his new team, at least up until Matthew Wright is back.

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How would you grade Jeff Chan’s performance?

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Can be improved
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Heartbroken Beau Belga Will Miss The Old Rain or Shine, Ready if the Team Wants to Trade Him

Big Beau Belga shows emotional side after Jeff Chan Trade

Photo by PBA Media Bureau

Beau Belga is one of the two core players left wearing the Rain or Shine jersey from the original team that was built by the former coach of Rain or shine.
Coach Yeng Guiao, now coaching for the NLEX Road Warriors, has built a good team during his five years stint in the Rain or Shine franchise. During his time, the team has appeared in multiple semis and finals appearance as well as capturing two PBA championships, the 2012 Governors Cup and 2016 Commissioners Cup.
After the recent departure of Jeff Chan who has been traded to Phoenix, Beau Belga and Gabe Norwood are the two remaining core players left and Belga could not hide his emotions.
In a recent interview posted by Lyn Olavario, Beau Belga has candidly admitted how hurt he was of the current developments and the look on his face was just telling it all.
” Binuo to ni Coach Yeng”
Beau Belga also mentioned their accomplishments, recalled how the team was built and how he will miss the company of his old teammates and all the happy moments they shared. He was also asked about his feelings and if he wanted to get out as well.
” Ako, wala pa naman, kung sa tingin nila gusto nila ko i-trade , wala ako magagawa dun. Wala akong control sa part na yun, ang control ko lang eh, maglaro. “

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Do you think Beau Belga will be traded?

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Norwood will be traded
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Jeff Chan Made it Rain as Elasto Painters Outlasted the Fuel Masters

Jeff Chan was the player of the game tonight as he reminds everyone that he is still a dangerous scoring machine.
Coming off the bench and playing only 25 minutes, Chan had a hot shooting night scoring 24 points with 50% FG (8/16 ) including, three 3 pointers.  Including Chan, the rest of the bench players contributed a total of 43 points compared with 29 on Fuel Masters.
Rain or Shine stayed with the game and was able to strike at the right moment to take the lead and escaped with the win. The Elasto Paintes scored 34 points in last quarter.
It was a sorry loss for the Fuel Masters as this game was almost in the bag.
Both teams stayed in the middle of the standing with ROS at 3 wins and 2 losses and Phoenix at 2 wins and 3 losses.
Side Note: ROS import and Phoenix Coach Nic Belasco had an altercation after the game.
The scores:
RAIN OR SHINE 96 – Chan 24, Taggart 20, Cruz 11, Almazan 8, Yap 7, Norwood 7, Belga 6, Washington 6, Ahanmisi 5, Tiu 2, Tolomia 0, Ponferada 0, Trollano 0.
PHOENIX 94 – McKay 27, Alolino 14, Wright 12, Intal 11, Kramer 8, Borboran 7, Jazul 7, Baguio 6, Miranda 2, Torres 0, J. Wilson 0, Dehesa 0.
Quarterscores: 25-25, 42-46, 62-73, 96-94