Aces halt Fuel Masters’ winning streak

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Calvin Abueva of Alaska blocks a shot by Lee Gwan Hee of Phoenix during a Philippine Basketball Association Season 41 Governors Cup game at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City on Saturday. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Calvin Abueva of Alaska blocks a shot by Lee Gwan Hee of Phoenix during a Philippine Basketball Association Season 41 Governors Cup game at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City on Saturday. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Combo guard RJ Jazul and relentless Calvin Abueva joined forces on Saturday as Alaska stopped Phoenix Petroleum, 103-87, to stay in the hunt for a playoff spot in the Philippine Basketball Association Season 41 Governors Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

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Jazul finished with 19 points and six assists while the hardworking Abueva tallied 18 points and 21 rebounds. Import LaDontae Henton posted 15 points, 20 rebounds, four steals and three assists to help the Aces improve their win-loss record to a 5-5.

Jayvee Casio also posted 10 points along with six rebounds and five assists for the Aces.

“I feel that we got our team back,” Alaska coach Alex Compton told reporters in a postgame interview. “There’s a very subtle defensive issues that trickled into our team. If that is the way we play, I think we have a chance against anybody.”

Veteran center Sonny Thoss notched 11 points and eight rebounds while combo guard Chris Banchero had 11 points, four rebounds and three steals also for the Aces. Alaska posted more rebounds (70-52) and steals (15-9) than Phoenix Petroleum.

Alaska, behind a three-game winning streak, halted Phoenix’s three-game winning run. The Aces, after the win, have created a four-way tie with Phoenix, Northern Luzon Expressway and Meralco in the fifth to eighth places.

Alaska’s 31-28 advantage ballooned to 51-39 at the break through the dynamic performance of Henton, Jazul and Abueva. The Aces maintained their grab of the lead in the third period through the combined effort of Banchero and Abueva. Alaska was enjoying a 76-66 cushion at the start of fourth period.

The Fuel Masters narrowed the gap, 82-77, after rookie Norbert Torres hit a triple at the 8:07 mark but the Aces quickly responded with a 13-0 run resulting in a 95-77 advantage with just 4:15 remaining in the game. The Aces dominated the remaining minutes of the match.

Import Eugene Phelps finished with 34 points, 24 rebounds and three assists for Phoenix.

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