Almost there: Alas, Phoenix learn from playoff exit
Phoenix may have seen the end to its surprising run in the PBA Governors’ Cup, but head coach Louie Alas vowed that good things are just beginning for the usually considered mid table team.
The Fuel Masters, in their short history, have never become a team to go into the top two of the standings except for the third conference of the 2017-2018 season when they surprised all after getting the no.2 seed with an 8-3 record.
That was the first time that Phoenix headed to the playoffs with a twice-to-beat advantage, and then disaster struck.
The Fuel Masters lost that perk after losing to seventh seed Meralco twice, 90-74 and 108-103, but Alas said it’s important for them to experience disheartening defeat before growing into a franchise that could constantly contend for the championship.
“For us to get to the next level, we need to experience a deeper playoff position or get to the semifinals, but we’re almost there,” said Alas in Filipino after their second loss to the Bolts Friday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Alas even shared an anecdote about wingman Matthew Wright telling the team that the NBA dynasties of the Chicago Bulls and San Antonio Spurs weren’t built overnight.
“Matthew earlier said in the locker room that Chicago, before becoming champions, they first had to shed its blood against Detroit, and we also have to do that,” said Alas of the Bulls who won six titles in the 1990s. “San Antonio, before winning the championship, was getting beat by Utah.”
The Spurs, who won five titles across three decades, lost to the Jazz three times in the playoffs during the 1990s before they claimed their first championship in 1999.
Alas said the team has learned its lesson and they will try to correct their mistakes once the 2018-2019 season rolls along and the Fuel Masters can add a couple of pieces after the Draft.
“This is a lesson learned so we’re expecting to have a better run in the All-Filipino conference and make it to the semifinals,” said Alas. “Everything’s a process but we expect that our process should bear fruits so maybe we can do that next year.”
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.