On the 55th birthday of Louie Alas, the Phoenix Fuel Masters gave their head coach a very special gift, an impressive 123-97 victory over the NLEX Road Warriors to return to the 2018 Governors’ Cup win column, Wednesday at the Cuneta Astrodome.
The Fuel Masters – who are coming off a 99-101 loss to two-time defending conference champions Barangay Ginebra San Miguel last September 29 in Cagayan de Oro City – improved to 6-2 to go near the quarterfinals.
“Big bounce back game kasi yung talo namin sa Ginebra one-possession game lang e. Sabi ko lang sa kanila don’t lose two in a row, ginawa naman nila,” said the veteran bench strategist. “We’re back. And I like our situation.”
Eugene Phelps led the celebration by dropping 51 points – just two points shy of his career-high 53 that he set in the 2017 Commissioners’ Cup, also at the same venue – on 21-of-31 shooting along with 20 rebounds.
Phoenix made it a one-sided affair early on by jumping to a 34-18 lead in the opening quarter. The Fuel Masters would then score 37 more points in the following period to head into the halftime break with a 71-33 advantage.
The Fuel Masters went on to lead by as many as 41 twice in the third.
“Knowing coach Yeng [Guiao], hindi papatalo yan. Maybe it’s just that off-night lang nila ngayon,” opined Alas, as the Road Warriors shot a dismal 39 percent from the floor. “I have to give credit to my players.”
Calvin Abueva had 17 points and seven rebounds, while Matthew Wright added 10 markers and seven assists in the win.
Aaron Fuller had 38 points and 14 rebounds to lead NLEX, who are now at 4-4 and have kissed goodbye their twice-to-beat hopes. Two-guards Bong Galanza and Larry Fonacier chimed in 13 and 10 markers, respectively.
Phoenix will next face the struggling San Miguel Beermen this Friday, October 12, at the SM Mall of Asia Arena, while NLEX will play again on Sunday, October 14, versus sister team Meralco Bolts at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
Phoenix 123 – Phelps 51, Abueva 17, Wright 10, Perkins 9, Wilson 8, Intal 7, Revilla 5, Jazul 3, Guevarra 3, Mendoza 3, Eriobu 3, Chua 2, Gamboa 2, Alolino 0, Kramer 0.
NLEX 97 – Fuller 38, Galanza 13, Fonacier 10, Tiongson 6, Monfort 5, Ighalo 4, Quinahan 4, Marcelo 3, Baguio 3, Rios 3, Miranda 3, Tallo 3, Soyud 2, Paniamogan 0, Taulava 0.
Quarterscores: 34-18, 71-33, 94-67, 123-97.
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