Phoenix head coach Topex Robinson felt that his wards were channeling their own “never-say-die” attitude when they embarked on a five-game winning streak after a 0-3 start to the conference.

Coach Topex Robinson (PBA Images)

The cloud of uncertainty also shrouded the team when the news broke out regarding the financial situation of team owner Dennis Uy.

It can be recalled that a notice of garnishment from a Nasugbu, Batangas Regional Trial Court was served to the PBA over a complaint of unpaid debts against Uy in early October although the Fuel Masters management assured that the team won’t be on sale.

It was at that same time when Phoenix triggered a stretch of victories including huge upsets against powerhouse teams Ginebra and TNT.

“We are so grateful for the opportunity. Winning is the byproduct of what we are doing. We know we still have a lot of harder teams to play and it’s gonna be the next three games for us but we got to appreciate the people who support us,” said Robinson whose wards also beat NLEX, Meralco and Rain or Shine during the five-game winning run.

“Boss Dennis has been supportive of us, boss RPZ (Raymond Zorrilla), boss Bugs (team manager Paolo Bugia), we are so grateful for the opportunity and we just want to be a blessing the way we play. We just keep on playing. I just want to borrow never-say-die that we just keep on fighting,” added the young mentor.

And that fight from the Fuel Masters was in full display when they outlasted the Tropang Giga, 91-88, in a physical encounter on Sunday, Oct. 30, all thanks to the solid contributions from import Kaleb Wesson and the clutch genes of young guns Tyler Tio and Encho Serrano.

“These guys really are fighting for every possession. Just like what Kaleb said, you get courage, not the absence of fear, but knowing that somebody is behind you. That’s what we’re getting our energy from, guys are just so active,” said Robinson.

Wesson finished with 23 points while Serrano added 16. Tio, on the other hand, only finished with six but sank the game-sealing free throws that allowed the Fuel Masters to overcome the splendid showing from the Tropang Giga trio of Calvin Oftana, Rr Pogoy and Cam Oliver who all breached the 20-point mark in scoring.

“We know that the only way we could beat a strong team like Talk N Text is to outwork them. I mean we are the least talented team in this league and we just have to work together and I think what’s key for us is guys are just ready,” he furthered.

It’s not only the players who are making the difference for the team according to Robinson, but also his bench players who are keeping the energy all-game long.

“I think I appreciate the bench for always being active, cheering each other on. When things are not going our way, we just keep on encouraging each other and that’s huge for us.”

Source: Manila Bulletin (