Coach Koy Banal left without a word after the Phoenix Fuel Masters absorbed their third straight loss – a 105-89 shellacking – at the hands of the streaking Alaska Aces on Friday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Banal was visibly disappointed with the effort of his team in the second half where they allowed the Aces to take control of the game with a 10-0 run at the onset.
It was all downhill from there for the Fuel Masters, who led by as many as 9 in the opening half, 45-36, behind the 18-point effort of their import Kevinn Pinkney.
“Wala siyang sinabi sa amin. Umalis kaagad si coach,” Phoenix guard RR Garcia told Fox Sports.
Banal left his players to figure out themselves what went wrong. And they did.
“Madami pa kaming kailangang trabahuin. Naka-26 turnovers kami eh,” Garcia rued.
The Aces had a season-high 17 steals and parlayed the Phoenix miscues into 33 points, 19 more than the Fuel Masters (14) had in the game.
“Nag-usap-usap kaming mga players. Sabi namin, [we need to] stay together. Walang maghihiwalay,” said Garcia, who committed 5 of those turnovers negating his 15-point performance.
Pinkney, meanwhile, filled up the stats sheet with 27 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks but had a game-high 8 errors.
But Garcia was quick to defend their new import, who replaced Kenny Adeleke.
“Wala kaming masabi (sa kaniya). Kita naman namin ang effort. Siguro kailangan lang namin bawasan as a team yung mga errors namin,” he said.
The Fuel Masters will try to find a way to start their uphill climb when they battle Mahindra Enforcers on Wednesday- By AA