Phoenix needs help from bench to beat Cafe France, says coach
Phoenix coach Eric Gonzales admitted that Cafe France truly has the edge in all of the four semifinalists in the 2016 PBA D-League Foundation Cup.
“Sila naman talaga ang team-to-beat this conference. Aside from them having (Rod) Ebondo, solid yung team nila,” he said.
Gonzales didn’t shy away from acknowledging that, especially after his Accelerators failed to capitalize on their twice-to-beat edge and lost to the Bakers, 78-68 on Thursday that set up a do-or-die affair between the last two D-League champions on Tuesday at Strike Gym in Bacoor, Cavite with a Finals ticket hanging in the balance.
Phoenix tried its best to take away cafe France’s advantages, but Gonzales knows it will always be a tall task limiting Ebondo and MVP contender Carl Bryan Cruz.
“Gusto namin i-limit si Ebondo and si Bryan, but we know they will still standout,” he said. “For us, it will all boil down sa one-on-one defense. We have to do a better job in doing that.”
Gonzales is also pleading for his bench to give the support his starters badly need, as most of Phoenix’s points came from usual suspects Mike Tolomia, Mac Belo, and Ed Daquioag.
“Kailangan namin yung tulong ng bench. Yung disiplina, kailangan laging nandoon,” he said.
Keeping his hopes up for the winner-take-all duel on Tuesday, Gonzales believes that no matter what the circumstances are, the Accelerators will go out and give the defending Foundation Cup champions a gallant stand.
“As of now, we are still very uncertain to what will happen on Tuesday. It’s going to ne anybody’s ball game,” he said. “Cafe France is much superior than Phoenix. Blessing na lang din na twice-to-beat kami, but our side will try our best to put up a good fight.”