The Phoenix Petroleum Accelerators have everything going for them these days.
After being granteed a PBA franchise a few days ago, the Accelerators celebrated their PBA D-League debut with an empathic 107-70 win over the Wangs Basketball Couriers Monday afternoon at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
With the championship core of the FEU Tamaraws in their lineup, the Accelerators showed no rust in the opening moments of the game in blasting their opponents with an 18-4 surge midway through the first quarter. UAAP Finals MVP Mac Belo paced Phoenix in the opening salvo in scoring ten points while his UAAP Finals opponent Ed Daquioag added seven markers to help give Phoenix a 27-14 lead.
The Phoenix lead continued to balloon in the second quarter with Daquioag taking over the Accelerators offense. The former Growling Tiger scored nine points in the quarter as he slashed through the lanes for easy layups. The lead would grow to as high as 32, 51-19, before Francis Munsayac gave life to a stagnant Wangs offense in scoring his team’s last six points in the quarter to go down 55-30 to enter the break.
Jonathan Banal and Rey Publico tried to rally their team back in the opening moments of the third quarter but all the momentum they are trying to gain were easily lost after a timeout by Phoenix. The interior defense of Phoenix forced the Couriers to contested jumpshots in the second half.
On the offensive end, the Accelerators continued to push the pace as the lead only grew by huge margins as time went by. Former Tamaraws Achie Inigo, RR Pogoy, and Gryann Mendoza helped increase their team’s lead to 48, 98-50, before the game ended with a score of 107-70.
Team head coach Eric Gonzales admitted that the team is still trying to integrate Ed Daquioag and Lyceum big man Seraj Elmejrab to their lineup. “Ang pinag-uusapan talaga namin is how to integrate Ed and Raj,” he said. “Alam namin kasi magiging malaking factor sila in the long run.”
Even with a statement win, Gonzales admitted that there are a lot of things that they still need to work on. “Ang goal is to reach the Final Four pero the focus is to play basketball consistently. Even if we’re up by 30 or down by 30, you have to play consistent basketball,” he added.
Mac Belo led all scorers with 22 points on 4/7 shooting from the field and 13/15 shooting from the stripe while Daquioag added 20 points. Four other Phoenix players scored in double-figures.
For Wangs, Jonathan Banal was their high point man with 17 points. Banal added five boards and four steals to his statline. Former Ateneo Blue Eagle Gwyne Capacio had 12 points as well.
As a team, Phoenix shot an outstanding 47% from the field and was 19/37 from the foul stripe. They were also able to force 28 turnovers on their opponents in an excellent all-around outing.
Phoenix (107) – Belo 22, Daquioag 20, Jose 11, Escoto Ru. 10, Inigo 10, Tamsi 10, Pogoy 8, Mendoza 5, Elmejrab 5, Escoto Ri. 2, Yu 2, Dennison 0.
Wangs (70) – Banal 17, Capacio 12, Ilad 11, Munsayac 10, Publico 10, Bautista 4, Vijandre 4, Acosta 2, Asuncion 0, Montemayor Je. 0, Montemayor Jo. 0, Namocatcat 0, Pascual 0, Tumalip 0.
Quarterscores: 27-14, 55-30, 79-44, 107-70.
Photo courtesy of PBA Images