New Phoenix coach Ariel Vanguardia’s woes doesn’t seem to end.
Already dealing with chemistry issues after acquiring several new pieces during the conference break, the Fuel Masters’ veterans led Josh Urbiztondo and forward Willy Wilson went down with injuries.
Phoenix coach Ariel Vanguardia said the 33-year-old Urbiztondo might be out for the rest of the conference due to bone spurs on his ankle, a similar injury that kept wingman JC Intal from seeing action in the PBA Governors Cup.
Worse, the 6-foot-4 Wilson is still under observation due to swollen right shoulder he sustained on opening day in Phoenix’s 108-103 loss to Meralco.
Both players missed the team’s 124-113 defeat to defending champion San Miguel Beer on Sunday.
The Fuel Masters now hog the cellar early in the tournament with its 0-2 card.
“Ang bigat ng ma-injure si Josh, saka si Willy, kasi siya (Wilson) yung stabilizer namin,” Vanguardia told FOX Sports on Monday.
Vanguardia, who just assumed the new Phoenix coach post over a month ago, said with his three veterans already downed by various injuries, he hopes that rookies Norbert Torres, Mark Cruz and Simon Enciso will step up the plate to support import Marcus Simmons, along with veterans Cyrus Baguio and John Wilson.
Torres, a 6-foot-6 big man out of La Salle, scored a PBA career-best 19 points on top of 6 rebounds against the Beermen.
Enciso, the six-foot freshman playmaker, is also averaging 14.0 points and 4.0 assists in the team’s first 2 games.
Vanguardia will have several days to adjust before Phoenix returns to action on Saturday against Commissioner’s Cup champion Rain or Shine. – By Richard Dy
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