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Vanguardia, Phoenix still figuring things out

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Tiebreaker Times Vanguardia, Phoenix still figuring things out Basketball News PBA  Phoenix Fuel Masters PBA Season 42 Ariel Vanguardia 2017 PBA Commissioners Cup

Three games into the conference, the Phoenix Fuel Masters are sinking

In their last two games, the Phoenix Fuel Masters have lost by a whopping margin of 22.0 points, the latest being a 135-109 lambasting at the hands of the TNT Katropa, Sunday evening.

The struggles they face are a result of the team still adjusting to their reinforcement (Jameel McKay), and acquisitions (RJ Jazul and Joseph Eriobu), according to first-year Phoenix head coach Ariel Vanguardia.

“Chemistry-wise, we’re still figuring out each other,” lamented the 44-year-old tactician moments after their loss at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.

“And nakita naman natin yun sa game na ‘to.”

Phoenix were completely outplayed by TNT for 48 minutes. The Fuel Masters shot a dismal 43 percent clip, a far cry from TNT’s 60 percent. Three-pointers were also an issue, as they only managed to covert six out of their 26 tries.

And their shooting woes have plagued them all conference long.

In their win against the Blackwater  Elite, they only managed to shoot at a 40 percent clip. It happened again in their 19-point loss to the Star Hotshots, 101-82, as they went 33-of-81 from the field.

“Basketball is a make or miss game. We couldn’t make our shots, they were making their shots. Naiwan talaga kami,” Vanguardia added.

The Fuel Masters’ chemistry issues were also exposed in the way they moved and held the ball. They dished out 21 dimes, but their miscues were too much, as they committed 17 turnovers — errors that led to 15 TNT points.

“You blink and there goes your momentum, there goes your chance. We blinked on playing defense and we let them score on transition, open shots,” stressed Vanguardia.

And the 19-year veteran mentor vows to work things out for the Fuel Masters to avoid yet another blowout loss in the Commissioner’s Cup.

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“Whether it’s a one-point loss, it’s still a loss. We’re gonna go back on what we’re not doing better and a lot of those is on the defensive side,” he said.

“[And we’ll] try to find the right combinations inside.”

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