Coming out fresh from a two-day team building in Tagaytay City, the Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters has completed its lineup and is bracing for the upcoming 47th PBA season despite a few issues hounding its player Matthew Wright.
Team Governor Atty. Raymond Zorrilla, in a Viber interview on Saturday, May 28, said they signed up three rookies they picked in the last round during the recent draft.
“All our players are healthy… Matthew Wright, Jason Perkins, Sean Anthony, who got from a trade last year is 100 percent. He will be a big help to the team. We have a small lineup but we’re relying on our speed and shooters to be competitive,” Zorrilla said.
Anthony has been practicing with the team since recovering from a foot procedure following his arrival on the heels of trade with North Port.
The Tagaytay trip, Zorilla said, bodes well for everybody on the team as they discussed their plans and the sentiments of the players.
Zorrilla said, “It was a good emotional personal bonding for all old members of the team. And hopefully, our new players ironed out any differences if meron man (if there are any). And all the team members are positive in competing for the new season.”
Debunking issues of possibly trading the Fil-Canadian Wright or his possible departure to play in Japan, Zorrilla was firm that they are not trading him at all.
“He has a live contract and we talked, he will give his all out for the season and will be playing like a true professional. He is unbothered ng mga (by the) writeups about him. He is a true professional. When he plays, he plays regardless of what is being written about him,” he added.
Wright has been with Phoenix for over five years now. Since he is still under contract with the Topex Robinson-coached squad and with rules to follow in the PBA, the team governor said the former is bound to honor it.
Thus the possibility of Wright’s playing in Japan is already a non-issue for the time being. He also said, “Lahat ng mga (All the) players, they’re thinking of options, diba (right)? But like what Matthew Wright said, he is a professional and he is bound by a contract. Also, may rules ang PBA (the PBA has rules) and he doesn’t want to violate them.”
Zorrilla said that Wright, just like all the other players on the team, is a passionate player. “They give their all regardless of what the odds are. play their hearts out. They have the attitude of winning kahit (even if they are) underdogs,” he said.
Phoenix fans, according to Zorrilla, can always expect what the Fuel Masters have been all along since 2016.
He said, “A team that plays to win, a team that has passion, a team that has commitment. They’re always playing out and giving their best in the game.”
He also assured the all-out support of the management to the team with Phoenix Petroleum Philippines Chairman Dennis Uy, who is also the team owner, and President Henry Albert Fadullon at the helm.
“Well, you know Dennis Uy, he is always a sportsman. He is a passionate and committed leader. The commitment is always long-term,” he said, adding. “The goal in mind is to win a championship, long term yan eh (That’s long term). We have to play with the big boys and fight with the big boys. Any team in the PBA has always been committed to winning a championship. The all-out support of management, you can see the support and the backing up of the management . No matter what the odds are. It doesn’t change the goal to be competitive, to always improve every season. And hopefully, God will give us a championship.”
Aside from Wright, Perkins, and Anthony, the Fuel Masters will also have the services of RJ Jazul
A well RR Garcia, Jake Pascual, Jansen Rios, Billy Robles, Sean Manganti, Kris Porter, Larry Muyang, Nick Demusis, Aljun Melecio, Tyler Tio, Encho Serrano, and reserved player Chris Lalata.
Phoenix signed up rookies Tio and Serrano signed on Wednesday, May 25, ahead of the 47th PBA Season opener on June 5 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.