Phoenix has tapped athletics national coach Jojo Posadas in the ongoing conference break to train the Fuel Masters, who are determined to become a well-conditioned squad come the season-ending PBA Governors Cup.
Coach Koy Banal said the Fuel Masters already started working out with Posadas for the past 5 days.
“We are building up the stamina of the players, so mga 5 days na kami nag-train under coach Jojo at the Ultra (now Philsports Complex track oval),” Banal told FOX Sports on Saturday.
Posadas is the husband of former undisputed Southeast Asian long jump queen Elma Muros-Posadas. He is currently helping the national track team’s talent identification program, along with the development of the country’s top players in the athletics team.
Banal said he envisions Phoenix to play a more up-tempo game after acquiring several young players on his team 3 weeks back via separate trade deals.
Phoenix’s new boys include rookies Norbert Torres, and Mark Cruz, whom the team acquired from the Star Hotshots, while Fil-Am guard Simon Enciso came in after a 2-conference stint with NLEX.
Veteran forward Mark Borboran was also thrown into the mix during a multi-team trade 3 weeks ago.
Gone from Phoenix were RR Garcia, the team’s top local scorer in the Commissioner’s Cup and young forward Rodney Brondial, who were both shipped to Star. Sharpshooting wingman Mac Baracael and backup point guard Eman Monfort, on the other hand, were traded to NLEX.
“We tapped coach Jojo to help the team particularly in the conditioning side. But again, we just have to smart on this because matagal pa naman yung third conference kaya dinadahan-dahan din namin,” added Banal, whose young backcourt of Enciso and Cruz will be ably assisted by Monfort.
The Fuel Masters, who acquired the Barako Bull franchise before the start of the Commissioner’s Cup, finished 11th in mid-season conference with their woeful 3-8 record.
It is this same anemic performance that has fueled Phoenix to start training early.
Banal is convinced that it’s retooled roster can compete with the elite squads like newly-minted Commissioner’s Cup champion Rain or Shine, Alaska, San Miguel Beer and Tropang TNT while eyeing a playoff spot in the Governors Cup. — By Richard Dy
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