Phoenix to measure itself minus prolific import
PBA ALL-FILIPINO

Tyle Tio: Phoenix to measure itself minus prolific import

/ 05:20 AM March 08, 2024

Phoenix Fuel Masters' Tyler Tio

Phoenix Fuel Masters’ Tyler Tio. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines–Tyler Tio admits that the luxury of having a reliable import during the previous conference will be sorely missed by Phoenix.

“It’s gonna be a new challenge and we have to step up as locals,” Tio said as the Fuel Masters open the PBA Philippine Cup on Friday at 4:30 p.m. against the NorthPort Batang Pier at Smart Araneta Coliseum. “It’s gonna be interesting.”

Phoenix will enter the All-Filipino tournament hoping to fill up the void left by Johnathan Williams, the talented import who towed the team out of its usual spot at the lower tiers of the playoffs and into a semifinal stint in the Commissioner’s Cup.

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His presence alone allowed guys like Tio, Jason Perkins and the rest of the locals to focus on their strengths, leading to a successful run before being shown the door by Magnolia in the semifinals.

The Cinderella run played a major role in Williams getting the nod as the conference’s Best Import, much to the chagrin of fans who felt that the two foreign players who made the Finals, Tyler Bey of Magnolia and Bennie Boatwright of champion San Miguel Beer were more deserving.

Most worthy

But a majority of media members, who took part in the voting process, felt that Williams’ impact on the Fuel Masters made him the most worthy of claiming the prestigious award.

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Williams averaged 24.5 points, 16.4 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 1.6 blocks during his 17-game appearance donning the teal and gray colors of the Fuel Masters.

READ: PBA: Tyler Tio continues stellar showing for Phoenix

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But with Williams no longer in tow, and the traditional contenders like San Miguel, Magnolia, Barangay Ginebra expected to contend owing to their deep lineups, Phoenix has a tough task ahead.

“It would obviously be a challenge without our import because we rely too much on him, both offense and defense,” Tio said.

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TAGS: PBA, Phoenix, TYLER Tio

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