Louie Alas rues late ‘defensive breakdowns’ in first Phoenix loss
Phoenix took its first defeat of the season on Sunday and head coach Louie Alas felt they lost the game on the defensive end of the floor.
Alas said the Fuel Masters committed too many defensive lapses that allowed the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters escape with a 98-94 win in overtime in a game that featured the top two teams in the league.
“We weren’t able to sustain our job defensively in the last five minutes. We had three breakdowns on scrambled defense in the last few minutes,” Alas told reporters.
The Fuel Masters emerged as early contenders in the Philippine Cup but Alas said his team still has some work to do if it really wants to be one of the elites in the PBA.
“If you want to reach the next level, you have to be able to make stops in the crucial moments,” he said.
Phoenix made a string of stops in the fourth quarter that completed wiped out Rain or Shine’s 14-point lead in the third period.
But the Fuel Masters faltered defensively when it mattered most.
With the game tied at 92 with under two minutes left, Phoenix allowed a layup by Rain or Shine guard Rey Nambatac, an offensive rebound by Raymond Almazan that led to two free throws and an open jumper by Mark Borboran to clinch the game for the Painters, who took the top spot away from the Fuel Masters.
But despite the loss, Alas said he is still pleased with Phoenix’s 5-1 record midway through the elimination round.
“You have to be happy with that and at the same time improve. We have to be even tougher and not allow ourselves to lose two in a row.”
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