After the Phoenix Fuel Masters’ 123-97 victory over the NLEX Road Warriors last Wednesday, Eugene Phelps – who had 51 in that win – was asked how his team would fare against the San Miguel Beermen, whom they will face two days later.
Phelps answered as honestly as he could.
“They’re a great team you know but honestly without June Mar [Fajardo], they’re a regular team.
“I mean, we just gotta play our game and I think we’ll be fine,” he said, as the Beermen had been in the midst of a three-game losing skid.
Apparently, the Beermen read it. And come Friday night, they showed Phelps how a “regular” team plays.
After a tight first three quarters, San Miguel found an opening in the final frame and pulled away en route to a huge 117-100 victory, which put an end to their three-game slide in the 2018 Governors’ Cup.
Unlike in their previous games, the Beermen displayed a well-deployed attack, with Fil-German rookie Christian Standhardinger leading the pack with 29 points and 14 rebounds along with three assists and two blocks.
“I hope he doesn’t feel too bad about this because he just lost by seventeen against a regular team,” said Standhardinger sarcastically. “That can be tough for the mental and the psychology behind the player so shout out to him.
“I hope he’s fine.”
Standhardinger even wished for the return of the reigning, four-time Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo, so that their “regular” team could become stronger – still, of course, sarcastically.
“I hope June Mar is gonna come back as soon as possible so we can be a great team again. Right now we’re just a regular team but we still beat them by fifteen so that’s good news,” said the top overall pick of the 2017 Draft.
“I think we over-performed today because for all regular standards that was really over our skills, over what we can play. We went all out today and that was great,” he added.
Still, Standhardinger made it clear that there isn’t any budding rivalry between Phoenix and SMB after what had transpired – the match even saw emotions run high when Kevin Murphy and Calvin Abueva got entangled.
“There’s no rivalry.”