Bay Area bucked a tepid start in the first half to hammer Phoenix, 101-91, and stay unbeaten in the 2022 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Dragons overturned a 16-point deficit in the first half before coming alive over the last two quarters behind Myles Powell, who finished with 32 points, nine rebounds, and four steals to lead a Bay Area team that snatched solo first in the standings at 3-0.
“[It’s all thanks to] my teammates and my coaching staff. You hear me say that every time I come up here. They believe in me, they believe in me to put the ball in my hands, and no matter if I was getting denied and stuff, I was making hard cuts and they found a way to get me the ball,” Powell said after the game.
Down 41-25 midway through the second period against a Fuel Masters charge led by import Kaleb Wesson, the Dragons proceeded to score 17 unanswered points mostly from Powell and Hayden Blankley to wrest the lead at halftime, 42-41.
Powell kept his foot on the gas in the second half, scoring 17 of Bay Area’s 32 points in the third quarter to lead a Dragons assault that hardly relented up until the final buzzer.
But the finish was not a walk in a park.
After a Powell free throw pushed the lead to 19, 89-70, at the 8:09 mark, Phoenix slowly chipped away at the deficit and even pulled within eight at some point, with a Tyler Tio triple making it an eight-point game with 2:04 remaining
That was the closest the Fuel Masters could get, though, as Powell and Duncan Reid helped keep Phoenix at bay down the stretch.
“I was really disappointed at the start of the game. We were a step off, we were reaching for fouls. we gave them a lot of baskets in dribble penetration and transition,” said Bay Area head coach Brian Goorjian. “When we were 16 down I thought from midway through the second period through the rest of the game, I thought we did a damn good job defensively and locked them up, and went from 17 down to almost 20 up.
“I was happy with the performance moving forward. I thought the team started poor but got better and better and better as the game went on,” he added.
Blankley put up 15 points and six boards, while Glen Yang finished with 14. Reid also scored 14 but also added 10 rebounds, four assists, a steal and a block for good measure.
Bay Area will take six days off before going up against Converge on Oct. 7 in a bid to score a fourth straight win.
Meanwhile, Phoenix, which slid to 0-3 for the conference, was paced by Javee Mocon’s 22-point outing.
Tio added 21 and five triples in a starting role, while Wesson finished with just 17 points on 20 shot attempts after cooling down from a 13-point first half outing, though he did manage to add 18 boards and three blocks to his line.
The Fuel Masters will get a six-day break before looking to arrest their skid against the 2-0 NLEX Road Warriors on Oct. 8.
Bay Area 101 – Powell 32, Blankley 15, Yang 14, Reid 14, Zhu 8, Liu 8, Lam 6, Liang 4, Ju 0, Zheng 0
Phoenix Super LPG 91 – Mocon 22, Tio 21, Wesson 17, Jazul 10, Anthony 8, Lojera 6, Robles 4, Serrano 3, Adamos 0, Pascual 0, Garcia 0, Muyang 0, Rios 0, Lalalta 0, Camacho 0
Quarterscores: 16-29, 42-41, 74-61, 101-91