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8 players score in double figures as Phoenix sends Kia to 14th straight loss

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Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 8 players score in double figures as Phoenix sends Kia to 14th straight loss Basketball News PBA  Rashawn McCarthy Phoenix Fuel Masters Philip Paniamogan PBA Season 43 Matthew Wright Louie Alas Kia Picanto Justin Chua JC Intal Jason Perkins Jackson Corpuz Gelo Alolino Eric Camson Chris Gavina 2017-18 PBA Philippine Cup

After dropping their 2018 Philippine Cup opener last December 17, the Phoenix Fuel Masters bounced back and sent the Kia Picanto crashing to their 14th straight loss, 125-102, Wednesday night at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.

“Actually, last 10 days, yung excitement, ‘di nawawala kasi we’re on a 10-game losing streak,” admitted Phoenix head coach Louie Alas on the win. “Sabi sa akin, coach, sana manalo na tayo next game. But Kia is no pushovers.

“Sabi ko ‘di kami pwedeng pumunta sa game na expecting na mananalo,” he added. “We [practiced] as hard as we can and tignan natin yung pinakamagandang individual defense, ilabas natin against Kia kasi very talented sila individually.”

A whopping eight players finished in double figures in the rousing win. Matthew Wright, JC Intal, and Justin Chua each produced 15 points, while backcourters Gelo Alolino and RJ Jazul supplied 13 markers apiece.

Phoenix already got their flow in the game’s early goings, and a 24-14 lead — made possible by Joseph Eriobu’s basket in the opening frame’s closing seconds — then became the start of a one-sided affair in the out-of-town bout.

The Picanto showed signs of life when they were able to cut down a 20-point deficit, 41-21, in the second period to just seven, 55-48, after six straight points capped by Philip Paniamogan’s lay-up early in the third frame.

But that proved to be Kia’s final wind. Phoenix regained their touch in the same canto, and after a 9-0 run — ended by Intal’s one-hander — that led to a gargantuan 79-57 lead, the match was all but decided.

The Fuel Masters even widened their lead to as much as 25 points, 101-76, after Perkins’ deuce from the foul line with 7:44 left to play.

Rookie Jason Perkins and Doug Kramer each provided 12 points and combined for 18 rebounds. Joseph Eriobu contributed 11 markers for Phoenix, who excellently converted 55 percent of their shots from the field.

Despite the victory, though, Alas iterated that the Fuel Masters will have a “no days off” mentality heading into the holiday break, for them not to lose shape, as a hefty opponent — the NLEX Road Warriors — will be waiting for them on January 7.

“One thing’s for sure, ‘di ako magtutwo-day break para ‘di kami mawala sa kundisyon,” he said.

Rashawn McCarthy had 22 points, eight rebounds, and six assists for Kia, who have yet to find a win after their victory last May 21 against, coincidentally, the Fuel Masters, in a 122-121 overtime classic at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Paniamogan backed up McCarthy with 15 points, while Eric Camson added 13.

Phoenix will next face the NLEX Road Warriors on January 7, 2018, at 4:30 PM, while Kia will look to end their skid against Magnolia Hotshots on January 10, 2018, at 4:15 PM. Both games will be held at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.

The Scores:

Phoenix 125 — Intal 15, Chua 15, Wright 15, Alolino 13, Jazul 13, Perkins 12, Kramer 12, Eriobu 11, Dehesa 7, Gamboa 6, Revilla 6, Cortes 0, Guevarra 0, Wilson 0.

Kia 102 — McCarthy 22, Camson 15, Paniamogan 13, Corpuz 12, Reyes 11, Galanza 7, Ababou 7, Jamon 5, Yee 4, Khobuntin 3, Celda 2, Sara 0.

Quarterscores: 24-14, 53-40, 88-69, 125-102.

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