It's no secret Eugene Phelps can score 50 points in a PBA game with ease.
That's why most people were not surprised, including Phoenix head coach Louie Alas, when Phelps erupted for 51 points, to go with 20 rebounds, in Phoenix's 123-97 rout of NLEX in the 2018 PBA Governors' Cup on Wednesday.
Seeing Phelps have an offensive explosion is nothing new for Alas, who was happy nonetheless with claiming their sixth game in eight games.
"I wasn't looking at his score," he said during the post-game interview. "I was still going to sub him out because I was already preparing for Friday's match (against San Miguel)."
What came as a surprise, though, was Phoenix beating a dangerous NLEX side led by veteran mentor Yeng Guiao by a mile.
"I didn't expect (a lopsided win). Actually we were expecting a close game because NLEX was coming off a loss. Knowing Coach Yeng, he won't allow to lose back-to-back," he said.
"Maybe it was just their off night and I really just have to give credit to my players. We gave up a only few points in the first half while turning the ball over five times. We had so many extra possessions so credit to my players."
Phelps deflected credit to his teammates and coaches. But he didn't hide his desire to win the Best Import award this conference.
That's why the high-octane American is making it his mission to lead the team to at least the semifinals. With the way the Fuel Masters have been playing, that doesn't seem to be far-fetched.
"Honestly I'm trying to win import of the [conference] you know. And I understand that to get that, you gotta at least get to the semifinals. So that's the goal: top four at least," said Phelps after the match at the Cuneta Astrodome.
"And then you never know, once you get to the top four, you can probably make it to the championship. Once we get there, anything is possible. But I'm just gonna keep on working hard and see how it goes."
Phoenix has been playing at a high level in the season-ending conference and Phelps is beaming with confidence ahead of their match against powerhouse San Miguel Beer on Friday.
Without reigning four-time MVP June Mar Fajardo, though, Phelps sees the Beermen as just a "regular team."
"They're a great team, you know. But honestly without June Mar, they're a regular team. I mean, we just gotta play our game and I think we'll be fine," he said.
Alas begged to differ. The veteran mentor has coached in the PBA for so long to know a team with championship pedigree and firepower like San Miguel, although slumping, should not be underestimated.
"(Going up against San Miguel) is a concern for us," Alas said. "They have lost three straight games, something that hasn't happened to them (in recent years). I think they won't let the losing streak extend to four. But our motivation is to get to the upper bracket so it's gonna be an interesting game."