Phoenix Pulse rolled to the best start of its PBA life on Wednesday night, but coach Louie Alas wants his charges to drop all of their bad habits if they are to become a force later on in the Philippine Cup.
“We again fell into our [bad habit] relying on our offensive firepower after we take big leads,” Alas said after the Fuel Masters plastered Columbian, 108-98, at Smart Araneta Coliseum for a 3-0 card that now stands as the new team mark. “It happened twice [in this game] and we failed to execute after that.”
Despite what Alas said, his Fuel Masters looked impressive in handling the Dyip and their super rookie CJ Perez, whom they held to just 10 points after he debuted with 26 in an upset 124-118 conquest of four-time defending champion San Miguel Beer.
“We are still young, enjoying situations like that,” Alas continued in Filipino, referring to his wards holding a 19-point lead at one stage before allowing the Dyip to creep closer in the second half.
“We (coaching staff) need to instill it in the minds of the players” to keep playing hard even with a big lead, Alas said. “And we won’t tire reminding them (players) what to do.”
Matthew Wright scattered 22 points, Calvin Abueva accounted for 16 and three others tossed in 12 or more for Alas.
“We want to win because of our defense,” said Alas, who admitted to being the most surprised in the team over their 3-0 start, especially after going winless in three tune-up games and losing two of those by wide margins.
Next up for the Fuel Masters is Blackwater, and Phoenix will have a 10-day break before that game, which Alas said they would use “to learn more things and correct their mistakes.”
John Paul Calvo scored 18 points to lead the Dyip, who will next slug it out with red-hot NorthPort, which is on a 2-0 run and is also enjoying its finest all-Filipino start under Pido Jarencio.
Later in the night, RR Pogoy dropped the biggest points in the stretch and saved TNT KaTropa from imploding, with an 85-80 nipping of NLEX giving the Texters their first win.
Pogoy hit a triple with 43 seconds left for five-point lead and then sealed the deal with two free throws with 2.6 ticks to play as the Texters finally broke their silence while dealing the Road Warriors a third straight defeat.
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