Alas, Perkins take Phoenix debut loss in stride, maintain confidence in progress

Rookie Jason Perkins was pretty solid in his PBA debut but insisted that he could have done a lot better. Dennis Acosta

By Patrick Sutare

QUEZON CITY—Phoenix has undergone a significant overhaul in the off-season and the team is fully aware that the transition will be shaky at its onset.

True enough, the Fuel Masters were served what turned out to be like a first day in school lesson as they fell into the hands of the powerhouse San Miguel in the opening game of the 43rd season of the PBA on Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

[Related Story: Four-peat bid off to fine start as San Miguel denies Phoenix to commence new PBA season]

Of all the changes made, two names that are expected to be under the microscope are new head coach Louie Alas and the team’s top rookie acquisition Jason Perkins.

Perkins sounded in chorus with Alas about him offering more to the table after he appeared to be far from satisfied despite posting a decent stat line in his debut as a pro. This year's fourth overall draft pick wound up 10 points, nine rebounds, two assists and a steal in 21 minutes of play that resulted to a loss.

"It wasn’t as good as I would’ve liked to play," Perkins said. "I'm gonna play a lot better. I'm gonna work a lot harder. My IQ is gonna be higher next game. Hopefully, I’ll keep getting better every game and keep progressing."

It was then affirmed by his coach, citing the former De La Salle University Green Archer's solid showing in the pre-season games as a comparison.

“He can do a lot better. Kasi dalawang games namin sa pre-season, siya yung aming highest pointer eh."

The former Alaska Aces top assistant tactician then pointed out Perkins' same old weak points that had the prospect big man slightly out of sorts.

"Pero yung sakit niya nung pre-season ganoon din ngayon–early fouls," bared Alas. "Kailangang maka-adjust siya sa mga tawag ng referees kasi hindi yung referees yung mag-aadjust sa kanya,” he added. Perkins finished the game with five fouls.

In the end, the 25-year old Perkins chose to put the fault in stride and just stick to the positives. According to him, playing against the defending champions for his first game in the league was the ideal rookie initiation.

"I'm glad I got to play them first. I’m glad that coming into my first PBA game, I got to learn from those kind of guys, seeing the way they work together in rotations and their IQ," he said.

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