New Phoenix coach Ariel Vanguardia called this week “Hell Week” for the Fuel Masters as they dive into training camp with former Sacramento Kings assistant coach Vance Walberg.
Vanguardia said the 56-year-old Walberg, who invented the dribble-drive motion offense, will be at the team’s practice this week to help him map out the rise of Phoenix in the PBA.
“Right now, we are still laying down the foundation of our team’s culture,” Vanguardia told FOX Sports. “They’ve been very enthusiastic. I like the effort they put in. But it’s Hell week for us this week.”
The new Phoenix mentor is confident that the Fuel Masters stand to benefit from Walberg’s vast coaching experience and the discipline he could impart to them.
Walberg, who used to serve as head coach for Pepperdine University, will be teaching the basics of the dribble-drive offense, a creative offensive structure that Gilas Pilipinas currently uses in international competitions.
“Sa ngayon, baby steps saka concepts pa lang muna ang itututro ni coach Vance,” said the Filipino coach, who, just 3 months back, steered the KL Dragons to the 2016 Asean Basketball League championship.
Vanguardia knows his players won’t be able to grasp the intricacies of the dribble-drive in just 7 days. Thus, Phoenix has tapped Walberg to be the team’s consultant, expecting the veteran American professional coach to come back next season after helping them in this week’s training camp.
Gone from last conference’s anemic campaign were RR Garcia, the team’s leading local scorer, Mac Baracael and Eman Monfort, who were part of the Fuel Masters’ recent trade deals.
But the team will be building on the veteran core of JC Intal and Willy Wilson, with new trade acquisitions like playmakers Simon Enciso and Mark Cruz, along with Norbert Torres serving as building blocks for the Fuel Masters’ future.
“Our modest goal is to be a fighting team, a team that will never quit,” said Vanguardia, whose team is still finalizing its talk with an import prospect.
“We want to be highly disciplined, a team that will be proud to be wearing Phoenix uniform.” – By Richard Dy
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