With just a week before the team’s much-awaited debut in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, Phoenix Petroleum president and CEO Dennis Uy believes it is but appropriate to temper expectations on the Fuel Masters, who will be carrying the roster from the former Barako Bull franchise.
“We’d like to be as competitive as possible but the realistic expectation is, we haven’t really planned for this (joining the PBA). Biglaan eh, so middle of the pack is really a realistic target for the team,” Uy told media men in an official press launch tendered by Phoenix Petroleum at the Novotel Manila in Quezon City.
Uy has high hopes that the Phoenix squad, a mixture of young, up-and-coming PBA players, along with veterans, can compete head on with elite pro squads led by defending champion Tropang TNT, back-to-back Philippine Cup winner San Miguel Beer and Alaska.
In fact, the youthful-looking businessman is confident that grizzled veterans like Willie Wilson and Mick Pennisi can still keep up with the Fuel Masters’ younger players as coach Koy Banal installs an up-tempo game this conference.
“This is the team we inherited when we bought it so we have to make do with what we have,” said Uy
“But we will try to be as competitive as possible. Kahit beterano, mabibilis pa naman.”
The Fuel Masters will play their 1st game for the mid-season conference against the NLEX Road Warriors on February 17 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Before the end of the press launch, Uy, along with company vice president Atty. Raymond Zorilla, led in the unveiling of the team’s PBA uniform which will be in red and white.
Originally, the Davao City-based company knocked at the PBA’s door in 2011. Their bid to join Asia’s 1st professional basketball league, though, failed to get the required 2/3 votes from the powerful PBA board.
Three weeks ago, Phoenix finally got its long-time dream of playing in the PBA as the league’s board unanimously approved its entry. — By Richard Dy