The Ginebra effect: Kings assignment has Fuel Masters scurrying to drawing board
Phoenix Super LPG coach Jamike Jarin swiftly put his charges’ spirited 99-98 victory over desperate Converge behind him after Saturday’s PBA Commissioner’s Cup clash.
Tough to dwell on one win when you have the Kings coming up.
The Fuel Masters’ resolve and record will be tested by defending champion Barangay Ginebra next, and even for an elimination round game, there was no downplaying that match.
“That’s the most important game right now,” he told the Inquirer shortly after the high-wire escape at PhilSports Arena in Pasig City. “We’re not looking beyond that—just Ginebra. So we are going to take some days off, recharge, and like we always say: Reset, restart, and re-establish [ourselves].”
Phoenix’s win on Saturday extended the club’s winning streak to four and pushed its record to five wins against a loss that came against Magnolia, the current leader of the conference.
But more importantly, Jarin saw how tenacious his squad was—something that should come in handy against the crowd darlings.
“This is our third game in a week so we were expecting to be a little tired. So we’re fortunate that even after 48 minutes, we still got the victory,” he said.
Rookie Kenneth Tuffin exemplified that tenacity—and more, as he hit the eventual game-winner with five ticks left after having played the previous 37 minutes rather inconsistently.
There was also import Johnathan Williams III, who still wound up with 27 points and 16 rebounds even after losing his contact lenses in the critical junctures of the see-saw affair.
Converge, for its part, went down swinging. Import Tom Vodanovich had 35 points, Schonny Winston added 15 while three other locals delivered twin-digit scores. Aljun Melecio, scoreless throughout the game, had a chance to win it in the dying second of the contest, but the crafty playmaker’s frosty shooting hounded him until the end, eventually dooming the club to a 0-5 mark.
With the win, the rebuilding Phoenix has moved a game away from tying the five-game winning streak it put together in last year’s edition of the Commissioner’s Cup.