Phoenix taps ‘rim protector’ McKay in place of Puerto Rico-bound Phelps




06:09 PM March 22nd, 2017

By: Mark Giongco, March 22nd, 2017 06:09 PM
Tristan Tamayo/

Eugene Phelps. Tristan Tamayo/

With explosive import Eugene Phelps bound for Puerto Rico, Phoenix has tapped the services of defensive stalwart Jameel McKay when it faces Star Wednesday.

Phoenix had to let go of Phelps, who left after leading the Fuel Masters to a 118-116 double overtime win over the Blackwater Elite on Saturday to prepare himself for his stint back in Puerto Rico’s first-tier basketball league.

Phelps had 53 points, 21 rebounds and five blocks in what turned out to be his first and last game for Phoenix in the 2017 Commissioner’s Cup.

In contrast, McKay is expected to be the Fuel Masters’ defensive anchor.

The 24-year-old big man was named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year in college as part of Iowa State, an NCAA Division 1 school.

“He’s a rim protector and can run the floor,” Phoenix head coach Ariel Vanguardia told

Despite making a name for himself defensively, McKay can also get the job done on the other end of the floor, as per Vanguardia.

“He can do it all. He’s a two-way player and he will help our interior defense,” Vanguardia said.

Phoenix aims for a 2-0 start against Star, which is playing its first game this conference.

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