Phoenix employed a balanced attack in waylaying Kia, 125-102, to give returning coach Louie Alas his first victory in the Philippine Basketball Association Season (PBA) Season 43 Philippine Cup on Wednesday at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo.
Eight Fuel Masters scored in double figures to notch the wire-to-wire victory, which is a rebound from their 96-104 loss to defending champion San Miguel Beer.
Matthew Wright, JC Intal and Justin Chua each had 15 points for Phoenix while Gelo Alolino and RJ Jazul netted 13 apiece for the Fuel Masters. Rookie Jason Perkins (12), Doug Kramer (12) and Joseph Eriobu (11) also hit double digits in scoring for Phoenix.
“For the last 10 days, the excitement is there and we are on a 10-game losing streak so we really need to win,” said Alas, who also drew six points, five steals and four assists from former Kia guard LA Revilla.
“We practiced hard as we can and we promised to bring our defense against Kia,” Alas added.
Through the impressive plays of Wright and Chua in the first half, the Fuel Masters erected a 41-21 advantage with 5:18 left in the second period, which ballooned to 53-40 by halftime.
Intal then led Phoenix’s charge and his basket gave the Elasto Painters a 79-57 cushion with 2:34 in the third canto.
The Fuel Masters stretched their lead to 104-79 with 7:44 remaining in the game on Perkins’ two free throws and Phoenix never looked back. The team has improved its win-loss slate to 1-1.
Rashawn MCarthy led Kia with 22 points, eight rebounds and six assists while Eric Camson and Philip Paniamogan contributed 15 and 13 points, respectively for the Picanto, who dropped to 0-2.
Kia played without veteran Ronald Tubid who’s nursing a leg injury he sustained during their 115-119 loss to Northern Luzon Expressway.
Phoenix 125 – Intal 15, Chua 15, Wright 15, Alolino 13, Jazul 13, Perkins 12, Kramer 12, Eriobu 11, Dehesa 7, Gamboa 6, Revilla 6, Cortes 0, Guevarra 0, Wilson 0.
Kia 102 – McCarthy 22, Camson 15, Paniamogan 13, Corpuz 12, Reyes 11, Galanza 7, Ababou 7, Jamon 5, Yee 4, Khobuntin 3, Celda 2, Sara 0.
Quarters: 24-14, 53-40, 88-69, 125-102.