Phoenix has high hopes for what its new recruits will bring to the table come the Philippine Basketball Association season in November.
The Fuel Masters are investing in young bloods who are expected to play a huge role in their title bid starting in the Commissioner’s Cup.
Head coach Jamike Jarin said he would utilize Phoenix’s rookies immediately just like what he did with second round picks Tyler Tio and Encho Serrano, who were able to exceed expectations when they played with immediate impact on the squad.
“I think we have four impactful players who will be joining us this season. We got the players that we need in terms of positions. We have Ken Tuffin and Raffy Verano playing the No.3 and No. 4 spots. We have a slasher that we lacked last season and we got one now in Ricci Rivero and we have a big man who can run in Matthew Daves,” Jarin said.
Last season, the Fuel Masters didn’t have a first round pick in the Draft, but were able to pick up gems of talents in Tio and Serrano, who immediately made an impact on the team.
Tio will be on his second season with Phoenix, however, Serrano walked to a different direction when he joined Pampanga in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League.
Tuffin, Verano and Rivero have recently signed their contracts with Phoenix, which hopes to go deep in the import-laden conference which begins 5 November. Tuffin signed a three-year deal while Verano and Rivero inked two-year contracts.
The Filipino-Kiwi Tuffin played three seasons with Far Eastern University before embarking on a career playing in the National Basketball League in New Zealand for the Taranaki Mountainairs and Wellington Saints.
Six-foot-3 Verano, selected 16th overall, saw action for Ateneo de Manila University and suited up for Quezon in the MPBL.
Rivero, 17th pick overall, is an athletic guard raring to showcase his wares while Daves is a versatile big man who can wreak havoc inside and on the perimeter.
The Fuel Masters also tapped former Los Angeles Lakers forward Jonathan Williams as their reinforcement.
“He arrived Tuesday and joined practice on Thursday,” Jarin said. “But with what we’ve seen on the videos and we’ve read about him, I would say he’s the kind of import that we need — a running big man.”