THE acquisition of Jeff Chan will not only give young Phoenix gunner Matthew Wright a mentor inside the court, but it will also give head coach Ariel Vanguardia a double barrel weapon as the Fuel Masters make their last push for a playoff spot.
“He’s a winner. He has a championship experience and he could serve as mentor to Matt,” Mr. Vanguardia told BusinessWorld in a telephone interview. “Of course, it will also give our team two options at the perimeter. Left and right, we now have a weapon.”
Mr. Chan, a veteran lefty gunner, was acquired by the Fuel Masters from Rain or Shine in exchange for Mark Borboran and the Fuel Masters’ 2020 second round draft pick.
The Bacolod sniper will bring in his championship experience to this young team. He is a two-time champion at the Elasto Painters camp and a former gunner of Gilas Pilipinas.
With Mr. Wright serving the national team for the time being and probably in future international tournaments to come, Mr. Vanguardia did the logical thing of tapping Mr. Chan.
Phoenix is making another push for the playoffs. Last conference, the team made it to the quarterfinals and Mr. Vanguardia is hoping the squad could make it to the next level.
“That’s our goal. Before, we were just looking at the other teams while they were playing in the playoffs. Now, it’s our time to be there. But we need to make it to the next level, which is the semifinals. To get there, we need to get the right pieces,” added Mr. Vanguardia.
Teams in the PBA is now taking a break to give way for the FIBA Asia Cup, but the long respite will allow Mr. Chan to get himself more adjusted to Phoenix’s style of play.
It will also serve as a blessing in disguise, according to Mr. Vanguardia, as import Eugene Phelps is on his way to recover from a foot injury.
“They’re trying to remove the cast in the next few days and see how strong is his foot,” said Mr. Vanguardia. “But I think the long break will help him recover. We’re not playing until the 18th.” — Rey Joble