With Abueva still out, Phoenix looking for more players to step up
MANILA, Philippines—Phoenix will have to make do with what it has heading into the next PBA season.
With polarizing forward Calvin Abueva still serving an indefinite suspension, the Fuel Masters are hard-pressed to get that superstar caliber player to not only be the face of the franchise but to also carry the team to the deep trenches of the playoffs.
The 2019 Rookie Draft also didn’t help as the Phoenix picked 28th overall.
This leaves head coach Louie Alas with a simple desire to see his player work even harder as they usher in the new year and new season.
“We still need that someone to partner up with Matthew [Wright] or Jason [Perkins] so until we get one guy who can, or Calvin gets reinstated, we just have to work harder,” said Alas in Filipino Wednesday in a phone interview with Inquirer.
“If Calvin is there with Matthew and Jason then we’ll be able to compete better, but that’s beyond my control.”
Abueva’s return remains unclear since the PBA imposed an indefinite ban following a physical altercation with TNT import Terrence Jones and a verbal war with Bobby Ray Parks Jr.’s girlfriend when the rookie was still with Blackwater.
The Beast was Phoenix’s dynamite off the bench, averaging 14.8 points, 12.1 rebounds, and 1.4 steals in the Philippine Cup.
“Whoever we have on the team right now has to improve. We really need at least two to three guys to carry us because we can’t rely on just Matt or Jason.”
Alas said players like RJ Jazul, JC Intal, and Justin Chua need to put up better numbers to compensate for the absence of Abueva.
Chua, Intal, and Jazul combined for an average of 26 points a game during the Philippine Cup but that mark spread around three players won’t cut it for the Fuel Masters.
“RJ, Justin, and JC have to deliver consistently for us since we can’t rely on just a couple of players to carry us.”