Phoenix chooses from four players for the last two squad places

Four players will battle for the last two Phoenix squad spots starting Thursday when the team returns to Batangas City.

Coach Topex Robinson said the Fuel Masters over the next few weeks will evaluate freelance agents Michael Calisaan and Bryan Faundo and 46th PBA Season Draft selections Reymar Caduyac and Jerie Pingoy to determine who will make the cut.

“We’re still looking at Caduyac, Pingoy, Calisaan and Faundo to complete our list,” he said. “We’re only going to get two to fill our team. Other than that, we’re pretty okay in other positions.”

Calisaan, 26, is a familiar face for Robinson who took on the 6-foot-4 forward in his senior year as head coach of San Sebastian in the NCAA.

Designed by Magnolia with a 10th overall win in the 2018 draft, Calisaan played with the hotshots for two seasons. However, he found it difficult to see the ground. In 16 games, an average of 2.0 points and 1.6 rebounds were achieved in just 5.6 minutes.

Faundo, on the other hand, was homeless after failing to receive a contract offer from Blackwater in the off-season. The 37-year-old center was part of the deal Meralco bossed him and Baser Amer in last February in exchange for Mac Belo.

In his final season with the Bolts, Faundo scored 2.4 points and 2.1 rebounds in 10.1 minutes per game in the 2020 Philippine Cup.

“It’s really more about finding the right characters,” said Robinson.

The two veterans will be judged together with the rookies Caduyac and Pingoy.

The 5-foot-9 Caduyac was one of Robinson’s players in the Lyceum and was selected 34th on the draft by the Fuel Masters. Pingoy was inducted into the UAAP at No. 52 after a well-documented college career with Ateneo and Adamson.

Team manager Paolo Bugia said Phoenix will take the time to decide who to sign among the four men.

“Most likely we will sign them around June as we want to maximize these next few weeks to evaluate them,” he said.

Elsewhere, Robinson said Phoenix was basically all good to go.

The team, which compensated for the loss of Calvin Abueva to the landing of Vic Manuel and Chris Banchero in separate deals, has also signed rookies Larry Muyang, Nick Demusis and Aljun Melecio in recent months.

However, Banchero won’t be able to join Phoenix when the team returns to training.

“Everyone is healthy. With the exception of Chris Banchero, who is still in the US, we are complete,” said Robinson. “Our main priority now is to physically prepare them for the possible season opener next month.”

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