Following their stinging overtime loss to Rain or Shine last February 10 – which snapped their franchise-best five-game winning streak – things are looking better yet again for the Phoenix Pulse Fuel Masters.
Coming off a narrow win over NorthPort two nights ago, Phoenix earned their second straight victory. They put up a masterful performance over the Alaska Aces, 94-80, Friday night at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
The Fuel Masters scored 10 straight points to open the third quarter to give themselves a 61-40 lead with 7:12 on the clock. The run then opened the floodgates that saw them drown the Aces as deep as 26, 86-60, with six minutes left.
“I give credit to my guys kahit pagod from last game. I told them that they are exempted to do full court defense, but keep the pressure,” said Phoenix head coach Louie Alas, who won versus his former team Alaska for the first time.
Former Milkman Calvin Abueva was at the forefront of Phoenix’s attack with 21 points, 16 rebounds, two assists, and a block. 2018 Mythical Second Team member Matthew Wright produced 20 points, while RJ Jazul had 18 markers.
The win improves Phoenix’s record 7-1. Now that they have booked a quarterfinals ticket, Alas has made it known that they are gunning for one of the top two spots, which will merit a twice-to-beat edge for the playoffs.
“Balik ulit tayo sa twice-to-beat,” he said.
Jeron Teng had a 23 points alongside nine rebounds to lead Alaska, whose two-game winning streak was snapped and who have dropped to 2-2. Rookie MJ Ayaay had 13 points, while Carl Cruz chimed in 10 markers on 13 shots.
The Aces welcomed back Simon Enciso from a minor surgery. He had seven points and eight rebounds.
Phoenix will look to extend their streak versus the Magnolia Hotshots on March 6, Wednesday, at SMART Araneta Coliseum. Meanwhile, Alaska try to bounce back versus the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel on Sunday, March 3, at Ynares Center.
Phoenix 94 – Abueva 21, Wright 20, Jazul 18, Chua 11, Mallari 9, Perkins 6, Mendoza 4, Guevarra 3, Kramer 2, Revilla 0, Marcelo 0, Gamboa 0, Napoles 0, Dennison 0.
Alaska 80 – Teng 23, Ayaay 13, Cruz 10, Pascual 8, Enciso 7, Exciminiano 6, Banchero 4, Galliguez 4, Baclao 3, Thoss 2, Andrada 0.
Quarterscores: 29-22, 51-40, 74-53, 94-80.