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Louie Alas: We have to beat teams we are supposed to beat

/ 06:39 PM January 15, 2019

Phoenix coach Louie Alas isn’t ready to measure his squad against the top teams of the league just yet.

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Right now, he wants to look at the squads his team is realistically competitive against.

“We must be able to beat teams we are supposed to beat,” Alas said in Filipino during the PBA’s recent media day.

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“That’s where we will start.”

Phoenix goes into a second season with Calvin Abueva now fully absorbed into its system and with additions Alex Mallari and Dave Marcelo, Alas feels he has the pieces to finally take it to the big guns of the league.

“We’re deeper now,” Alas said in Filipino. “So I guess this season, we can really compete. I always felt that we were three pieces away from competing but now that we have two, we should be good.”

More than the added depth and skill, Alas feels Mallari and Marcelo will bring their winning ways to the Fuel Masters, who were often caught fumbling in tense endgame situations during crucial ballgames.

But while Alas is hoping for a breakthrough this season, he is grounding himself in reality.

“San Miguel, Ginebra, Purefoods and Alaska, those are real elite teams. We will try to compete as hard as we can against them,” said Alas. “But right now, the test will be to beat the teams that are in the same level as we are in. I’m not saying we’re better than the rest of the field. But we should be able to win the games we have to win against them.”

Mallari and Marcelo will join a squad with a solid core led by national team mainstay Matthew Wright, Abueva and Rookie of the Year Jason Perkins.

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It’s a competitive five that will be unveiled when Pheonix battles Meralco at 7 p.m. Wednesday in both teams’ Philippine Cup debuts.

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