After trapping Vic Manuel and Chris Banchero in the sound business, Phoenix Super LPG has suddenly become one of the teams to watch in the Philippine Basketball Association’s next season. With a core consisting of Matthew Wright, Jason Perkins, Justin Chua and RJ Jazul, the Fuel Masters made the Philippine Cup semi-finals in the bubble last year. But with the addition of the two veterans, getting over the hump doesn’t seem like an exaggerated goal starting April 9.
But it is too early to qualify the crew trained by Topex Robinson as contenders for the final. Believe it from the man the club chased after giving Calvin Abueva and raising lots of eyebrows.
“The Phoenix lineup is solid (on paper) right now. But if we’re not going to play as a team, it will be all for nothing, ”Manuel said in the Filipino during a television appearance on The Chasedown on Saturday.
One thing Manuel is sure of, however, is that building chemistry will be easy, as he previously played alongside Banchero and Jazul in Alaska, where Robinson also served as an assistant coach.
“I will be a little familiar with the system, so I don’t think it will be difficult for me to [integrate] myself, ”he says.
Manuel is not even afraid of having a reduced role.
“In Phoenix, there are a lot of people who could handle basketball. They can score at any time. Anything asked of me, anything that’s good for Phoenix, I will, ”he said.
It is with a touch of irony that Phoenix now has a starting national team unit similar to TNT – the same team that closed the door to their final aspirations in the last Philippine Cup.
Manuel was selected by Tim Cone at the Southeast Asian Games here. Wright was Gilas’ sniper during the Chot Reyes years. Chua is currently part of the talent pool that trained for the Fiba Asian Cup (International Basketball Federation), while Perkins served for the 3 × 3 crew.
Jazul, meanwhile, was a member of Gilas’ first team who also attempted to recruit Banchero from the American NCAA.
However, Manuel knows that everything takes time – as well as the fact that other teams are also exhausting to improve.
That’s why he set his sights on Monday – the first time he will train with the Fuel Masters. And after that, he will have an idea of their chances. INQ
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