Phoenix is off to a new path.
Louie Alas has been installed as the new head coach for the Fuel Masters, days before the 2017 PBA Rookie Draft.
Team governor Raymond Zorilla announced the news on Thursday after coach Ariel Vanguardia and lead deputy Justino Pinat resigned from their duties.
“After evaluating the performance of the team this past season, Mssrs. Ariel Vanguardia and Justino Pinat have earlier stepped down from their coaching positions with the best interest of the team in mind,” the team said in a statement.
Vanguardia amassed a 17-27 record with Phoenix since assuming the position prior to the 2016 PBA Governors’ Cup. He led the team to three quarterfinals appearances in his tenure but failed to advance past that stage.
In their lieu, coaches Alas and Topex Robinson have been signed to lead the Fuel Masters to a new path.
“The said coaches represent two of the brightest coaching minds in the game today and we feel fortunate that they will be leading the future of our team as well as other basketball related activities,” the statement continued. “The management is elated with these changes and are expecting a different Fuel Masters team in terms of attitude, passion, intensity and pride in each game they play in Asia’s oldest professional basketball league.”
Alas and Robinson were a part of coach Alex Compton’s staff in Alaska.
“I’m super excited to take on a head Coaching position again as it will be a big challenge. I’m likewise sad as I’m leaving Alaska, especially Coach Alex who has very supportive and a dear friend to me and my family,” said Alas of his new post.
Alas last took the helm with Letran back in NCAA Season 88 in 2012, while Robinson is currently steering Lyceum this NCAA Season 93, with the Pirates already qualified in the Finals after their 18-0 eliminations sweep.