Phoenix Fuel Masters all-eyes on Governors’ Cup semifinals slot

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Phoenix Fuel Masters’ Calvin Abueva goes for a layup against the defending Meralco Bolts’ Allen Durham during the quarterfinal round of the 2018 Governors’ Cup on Wednesday, Nov. 7. PBA

MANILA – The Phoenix Fuel Masters hope to finally do away with playoff jitters when they face the Meralco Bolts in the 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup do-or-die quarterfinals Friday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The franchise has yet to win a PBA playoff game since the Fuel Masters entered the league midway in the 2016 season. Their 74-90 loss to the Bolts on Wednesday was their fifth defeat overall.

Fuel Masters head coach Francisco Luis Alas hopes they can win this time against the Bolts, a two-time Governors’ Cup runner-up, during their 7 o’clock game tonight.

“Tama iyong sinasabi [na experienced ang Bolts]. Advantage lang talaga namin iyong twice-to-beat,” said Alas. “But good thing na din na may advantage kami, at least we can still fight on Friday.”

The Fuel Masters were in the thick of the battle with the Bolts in the first two quarters but struggled with their offense in the second half, allowing Meralco to get away with the victory.

“We just can’t buy a basket sa outside. Both teams played excellent defensive but I think our problem is our offense,” Alas said. “Missing iyong outside shots namin, especially in the second half.”

“We have to make adjustments offensively, and we have to make our outside shots kasi iyon iyong gini-give up nila sa amin. Hindi pumasok. We paid for it,” added the former Letran Knights coach.

The winner of the Fuel Masters-Bolts series will have a best-of-five semifinals showdown with the Alaska Aces, which eliminated San Miguel Beermen in the other quarterfinal game Wednesday./PN

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