Brian Heruela immediately makes impact for Phoenix
MANILA, Philippines—Phoenix didn’t need a star player to change its identity.
The Fuel Masters made a trade to acquire point guard Brian Heruela from Blackwater and in exchange dealt away Ron Dennison.
Heruela is not generally considered a star player in the league with the four-time champion usually playing as a second and sometimes even a third option at point guard with San Miguel and TNT.
Head coach Louie Alas, however, has seen instant changes with his team when Heruela started playing with them, mostly on the defensive side of the floor.
“You know you won’t go wrong when you’re a hard worker and Brian is just that,” said Alas in Filipino after the Fuel Masters trumped San Miguel 108-90 in a tune-up game Wednesday at Upper Deck Sports Center.
Heruela gladly bodied up opposing point guards Terrence Romeo, Chris Ross, and Alex Cabagnot during the tune-up and was a deadly playmaker tallying 11 assists to go with his six points.
Although he only had one steal against San Miguel, Heruela’s plus/minus was at +18, second only to teammate and former Beermen center Jay-R Reyes who had +20.
“Brian comes to practice early and he remembers all of my instructions clearly and he really had a great impact on the team because he doesn’t need to talk on defense,” said Alas.
“He’ll just look at you and that already sets an example for his teammates.”
Star shooter Matthew Wright, meanwhile, has been appointed the team’s new skipper for the upcoming PBA season which opens in March.
Even if the team is only playing tune-up games, Alas said Wright has already imposed the kind of leadership that has slowly become a norm for the team.
Alas said that Wright himself told his teammates that if he or one of his teammates gets called with a technical foul in the preseason matches then the whole team would pitch in a thousand pesos per player for the necessary fines.
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