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Expect Phoenix to continue pushing the pace

Phoenix’s Matthew Wright drives against the defense of NLEX’s Cyrus Baguio. PBA Media Bureau.

MANILA, Philippines – Phoenix star Matthew Wright vows that the Fuel Masters will continue playing at a fast pace after they ran past the NLEX Road Warriors in their PBA Philippine Cup game last week.

Phoenix turned a slim 54-53 lead into a comfortable 102-95 victory, shackling NLEX rookie Kiefer Ravena and limiting Juami Tiongson after he got off to a fast start.

The momentum shifted in Phoenix’s favor in the second half, when they got out in transition for quick points and crashed the offensive glass for second chance opportunities. The Fuel Masters blew the game open, leading by as much as 17 points before holding off the Road Warriors in the fourth frame.

“We beat NLEX because they weren’t in shape in the last quarter of the game,” Wright explained.

According to the second year guard, the Road Warriors could not keep in step with the Fuel Masters once they stepped on the gas pedal.

“You could see in the second half, they were trying to keep up with the tempo,” he noted. “We set the pace of the game, and they kept trying to keep up with the tempo.”

“But you could see in their faces that they were very tired, and we took advantage of it,” he added.

This is how Phoenix plans to keep playing, especially as new head coach Louie Alas favors a run-and-gun game.

“Expect us to be like that,” said Wright.

“We take pride in being the best in-shape team, the best conditioned team,” he said. “That is something the fans can expect from us.”

In their season-opening loss to San Miguel Beer, the Fuel Masters were limited to 96 points. In two victories since, they’ve breached the century mark.

“There’s a little bit of adjustment,” Wright pointed out. “There’s a little bit of a buffering period.”

“New coach, new philosophy. New offensive and defensive game plans. We’re just trying to unlearn the things, our old ways last year that weren’t working,” he added.

“I feel like we’re on the right track, and we’re not satisfied just because we won.”

Phoenix is currently in the midst of a 10-day layoff following their win over NLEX. They return to action on Wednesday against Rain or Shine.

For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.

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