Vanguardia takes blame for Phoenix's repeat meltdown against Star

By Ivan Saldajeno

PASAY—Coach Ariel Vanguardia once again took responsibility for Phoenix's devastating PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals Game 1 blowout loss to Star at the Mall of Asia Arena nearly two months after also getting bludgeoned at the said place by the same club.

"We came very flat in the second half. I take full responsibility for how we execute everything in the second half," Vanguardia told some sportswriters after the game.

The Fuel Masters appeared to have solved the Hotshots' defensive formula by dropping 36 points on them in the second quarter and even taking a 51-45 halftime lead.

But Star's refueled defense limited Phoenix to only 32 points the rest of the way while scoring 69 in the process.

"They're playing very well on both ends. If we cannot execute and find ways to defend them, ganoon ang magiging resulta. Kung ano ang gumawa namin noong first half, dapat tinuloy namin," Vanguardia continued.

Luckily for the Fuel Masters, they still have two chances to steal a semis spot from the Hotshots.

"May buhay pa. Whether we lost by two or by 30, it's just 0-1, so we have to find a way to adjust and play better in Game 2," Vanguardia further quipped.

The rematch of both squads will take place at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City on Monday night.