Phoenix bracing for tough stretch

Phoenix Fuel Masters could be enjoying its best start in franchise’s history with its 5-0 win-loss slate but they are also bracing for a tough stretch in the 2019 Honda PBA Philippine Cup.

The Fuel Masters surely have something to worry as their next six games were against tough oppositions in Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, Alaska Aces, Magnolia Hotshots Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings, San Miguel Beermen and NorthPort Batang Pier.

Their first five wins, however, were against Meralco Bolts, TNT KaTropa, Columbian Dyip, Blackwater Elite and NLEX Road Warriors, which the Fuel Masters just escaped with an 83-82 win last Friday.

Fuel Masters star Calvin Abueva said that, while their first five wins are beneficial for them ahead of the playoffs round, their next matches will be a great test to the team’s character and if they are for real.

Sa’min it’s not about 5-0. Hindi namin fino-force na nasa top na kami, pero mga nakakalaban namin parang mga kasing-level lang namin sa laro‘di pa ‘yun totally SMB or something na Ginebra, Magnolia,” said Abueva.

Mabuti na yung nanalo kami sa mga naunang games namin, kasi pagdating dun sa mga susunod naming mga laro baka kung ano pa mangyari, so pinu-pwesto lang namin sarili namin sa dapat mangyari,” he added.

Alex Mallari, who arrived at the Fuel Masters during the offseason via trade, said that their early victories should not lead them to complacency with other teams gearing up to beat them.

“I don’t want to get too carried away because we haven’t won a championship yet, but I like what I see so far,” Mallari said. “I think (Phoenix) was at the top of the standings last conference. They got to the quarters and they got knocked out.”

“So I don’t think we pay attention to our strong start,” he added. “We’re 5-0 and it feels good, but job’s not done.”


Two sporting events are set to unfold in Negros Occidental today with the futsal tournament set to be held in Talisay City, while the 2019 National Basketball Training Center Regional Finals slated in Bacolod City.

Hundreds of futsal enthusiasts from different barangays and schools in Talisay City are expected to converge at the Talisay City gymnasium this morning for the staging of this year’s Pasidungog Futsal Festival.

The event, which aims to fortify the city’s goal to further strengthen its sports tourism program aside from providing avenue for football enthusiasts, will feature 13 under, 17 under and Open categories.

Bankrolling the event are Mayor Niel Lizares, Councilor Gab Villacin in partnership with the City Sports department (ATLETA) headed by Sports Coordinator Kenneth Valderrama and Minulu-an FC president Rafael “Juny” Lizares.

Meanwhile, four schools in STI-West Negros University, University of St.  La Salle, Colegio de Sta.  Ana de Victorias, and San Carlos City are set to tangle in the 2019 NBTC Regional Finals today at St. John’s Institute gym.

NBTC Program Director Eric Altamirano has lauded SBP provincial head Tony Agustin and his team for coming up a huge number of participants.

“NBTC is all about giving an opportunity for a small school to play in a bigger stage. This shows that there is a depth of talent in the countryside waiting to be given a chance to be discovered,” Altamirano added./PN


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