Jeff Chan was disappointed with the way the Phoenix Fuel Masters lost to the Meralco Bolts on Wednesday evening, as they had a chance to win the bout — or at least send it to overtime — had they executed their final play flawlessly.
With 10.9 ticks remaining, and with the Fuel Masters down 90-92, Phoenix looked for the best possible shot, but Meralco’s defense swarmed them. Chan, with four ticks left, was forced to take a triple from the top.
Chan’s shot unfortunately missed, sealing the win for the Orangemen.
“Natapik din kasi ni [Chris] Newsome yung bola eh. Dapat kay Willie kami nun. Pero since natapik niya wala na kaming choice. I mean, wala na rin akong choice,” explained Chan. “Clock winding down, so kailangan ko magdecide.
“I had to take a forced shot.”
“May mga konting angle na hindi namin nagawa,” said head coach Louie Alas, on the other hand. “Sabi ko nga sa kanila ‘pag ganiyang one possession, konting angle lang ng instruction natin na ‘di natin nagagawa will cost us the game.
“So we have to learn from it.”
Aside from that miscue, another factor that dealt a big blow to Phoenix was the exit of Matthew Wright. The Filipino-Canadian sniper fouled out with 2:58 left to play after committing a foul on Anjo Caram.
Wright was instrumental in Phoenix’s third quarter rally, scoring eight of his 16 points to help the Fuel Masters turn a huge 14-point deficit into a five-point advantage, 75-70, with less than three seconds left in the said frame.
“Alam naman natin na si Matthew anytime pwede maka-score. And, yun nga, medyo stuck up kami last two minutes — we’re down six or eight eh. Medyo nahirapan kami,” stressed the 10-year veteran.
“Hopefully next game mas maging matalino kami lalo na sa mga fouls.”
The Fuel Masters have dropped to 4-5. But despite the loss, Chan remains upbeat with his team’s chances in the playoffs, even if their last two assignments in the eliminations will be against the Blackwater Elite and GlobalPort Batang Pier.
“Well so far, control namin yung fate namin. We just have to win the last two games. That’s it. Walang other options,” said the 34-year-old gunner.