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Abueva powers fightback vs Blackwater as Phoenix grabs share of PBA Bubble pole

SMART CLARK GIGA CITY – Phoenix Super LPG came from behind and frustrated an upset-conscious Blackwater, 100-95, in the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup Monday at the SMART 5G-powered AUF Sports and Cultural Center.

Calvin Abueva nearly had a triple-double with 17 points, 13 rebounds, and eight assists, as he sparked the fourth quarter fightback that led to the Fuel Masters grabbing their seventh win and a sure spot in the quarterfinals.

Phoenix trailed for most of the game and was starting at an eight-point deficit early in the final frame, until the do-it-all forward led a furious 20-5 rally – ended by a Justin Chua triple — to take an 89-82 lead, 3:34 remaining.

They would never get behind since then as Jason Perkins and Matthew Wright provided the finishing touches to secure the win — and complete Phoenix’s rise from as much as 16 points down in the third canto.

“Just like what everybody said, we’re a young team. Marami pa kaming dapat matutunan, and we’re so grateful na nagkaroon kami ng ganitong experience against Blackwater,” said head coach Topex Robinson.

Perkins top-scored for Phoenix with 18 points, alongside 12 rebounds. Matthew Wright produced 17 points, six boards, and five assists, while Brian Heruela came off the bench and finished with 15 markers.

Chua only had seven points on 3-of-10 shooting but he definitely had an impact in the win aside from making that trey. He collared 11 rebounds and collected a total of five blocks, further proof why he’s the league’s blocks leader.

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“It’s basically the technique. It wasn’t taught. ‘Yung tinuro lang sa kanya is the mindset for him to believe in himself,” Robinson said of Chua. “We’re just happy for him. We’re just happy that Justin finally broke out of his shell.”

Phoenix still has one more game left in the eliminations versus Rain or Shine on Wednesday, with the chance to clinch a top four finish and a twice-to-beat edge. Robinson, though, isn’t concerned with their standings.

“We’ll never look at where we are right now. As much as it’s really getting tighter and tighter right now, sabi ko nga it’s just gonna go back to, again, being the best version of ourselves and just trying to grow,” he said.

Blackwater was led by KG Canaleta’s 21 points in the loss, its seventh straight already. The Elite dropped to 2-8 and will look to finish their campaign strong versus Magnolia also on Wednesday.

The Scores:

Phoenix (100) — Perkins 18, Wright 18, Abueva 17, Heruela 15, Garcia 9, Jazul 9, Chua 7, Intal 6, Marcelo 2, Rios 0, Mallari 0.

Blackwater (95) — Calaneta 21, Belo 17, Trollano 13, Escoto 11, Tolomia 9, Magat 8, Sumang 8, Gabriel 4, Dario 2, Daquioag 2, Golla 0, Salem 0, Dennison 0.

Quarterscores: 15-21; 34-45; 67-70; 100-95.

Written By

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.

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