Jeff Chan played like his young self during his debut with the Phoenix Fuel Masters on Friday night. He was shooting the lights out in the first half, making many believe that they were on track to stun Allen Durham and the Meralco Bolts.
But his first half explosion, which saw him erupt for 17 markers, went in vain, as he and the Fuel Masters were hit by a resurgent Bolts and lost, 104-107 — their fourth straight defeat after a 2-0 start in the Governor’s Cup.
Chan still had a stellar debut with 27 points, showing that he can provide enough of a boost for the slumping Fuel Masters. However, his high-scoring effort was negated by the seven turnovers he inadvertently committed.
And with that, head coach Ariel Vanguardia still saw issues with Chan’s game, particularly with playing in longer stretches, as the Bacolod native played a lengthy 37 minutes and 17 seconds.
“He’s a veteran. He knows the game. Ang ano lang, he’s not used to playing siguro minutes na masyadong marami,” said Vanguardia after the bout at the Big Dome. “It’s something that he’ll develop pa as we practice more with him.
“Tingin ko [nasa 30s yung minutes niya lagi]. He’s a career 23 [minutes]; sabi ko dito siguro, mga 30 minutes ka, kung maganda siguro, mga 35.”
And aside from developing Chan into getting used to longer minutes, Vanguardia also added that the 33-year-old sniper still has to work on his chemistry and adjust himself more into the team’s system.
“Yung chemistry pa nila ni RJ (Jazul) and the other guys,” said the coach. “Yung chemistry, wala pa doon sa iba eh.”
Still, looking forward, the former Wesports Malaysia Dragons coach is excited. For him, he cannot wait for Chan and top rookie Matthew Wright to conspire and do damage in the league in the coming years.
“I’m excited for the Matt and Jeff combination soon.
“That gives us more weapons and that will be the face of the franchise moving forward,” he said.
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