The Phoenix Fuel Masters gave up 40 free throws to the Blackwater Elite and lost an important game, putting coach Louie Alas and his troops in a must-win situation in the hopes of making the playoffs.
With the crucial defeat, the Fuel Masters found themselves crashing into a three-way tie for ninth to 11th spots in the team standings alongside TNT KaTropa and the Meralco Bolts at 4-6 mark.
But Alas isn’t about to throw in the white towel yet.
“Pwede pa rin naman, yung No.8. Manalo lang kami, maraming makaka-tie, makaka-tie namin yung GlobalPort. Eto, Blackwater. Yun nga lang, hindi namin kontrolado yung sitwasyon. Tinitingnan ko puwedeng magkaroon ng five-way logjam. But, ang last thing na ayaw naming gawin is to give up. Puwede pa tayong mag-no.8 kung mananalo sa GlobalPort. We have to win, dahil kung hindi parang dati lang kami kapag natalo sa GlobalPort, eliminated kami,” the coach said.
The Fuel Masters lost the game as they committed a total of 24 turnovers.
“Lamang kami sa 50-50 balls, so yung mga small things lang, yung individual defense namin, yung offensive rebounds nila and we committed 24 turnovers, sa ganito hindi ka mananalo sa PBA na ganun karami turnovers,” he added.
For Alas, who was given a chance to handle a PBA team for the first time since 2002 before the start of the season, admitted his team was fortunate not to be beaten soundly by the Elite.
“Medyo masaya naman ako sa effort ng mga players. Yun nga lang yung fouls namin, we committed 30 fouls. Swerte pa nga kami kasi 20 out of 40 sila sa free throws. Kung na-convert nila yun, medyo malaki lamang. Samantalang kami nine points lang sa free throws. But I even commended them dahil the reason why nagmi-miss sila, kasi pagod na rin,” added Alas.