Import Eugene Phelps carried Phoenix Petroleum to a convincing 118-105 win over Kia on Wednesday at the start of the Philippine Basketball Association Season 42 Governor’s Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.
Phelps, who poured in 33 points on 12-of-21 shooting from the field on top of 14 rebounds and three blocks, provided the Fuel Masters the firepower they needed to notch the opening-day victory.
“It feels good. We got this win so we have to build on this,” Phelps told The Manila Times. “The main goal is to win the championship, but we’ll take this one game at a time. It’s a good start.”
Phoenix built a 44-31 advantage after Phelps’ basket with less than six minutes to go in the second canto en route to a 57-48 halftime advantage.
The Picanto narrowed the gap to 62-65 after Bong Galanza hit a three-pointer with less than eight minutes to go in the third frame, but the Fuel Masters unloaded a 10-0 run to bring back their lead to double-digit, 75-62, three minutes left in that stage.
Veteran RJ Jazul fired a three-pointer with 3:47 to go in the payoff period to give Phoenix a 100-86 lead and the Fuel Masters were never threatened since then.
“Good start for us. We ended our losing streak from last conference,” said Phoenix Petroleum coach Ariel Vanguardia. “Payback time. We had a chance for No. 6 last conference and we lost to Mahindra and NLEX last conference denying us a chance to a best-of-three.”
JC Intal led the locals in scoring with 19 points while Jazul contributed 18 markers. Joseph Eriobu and Cyrus Baguio chipped in 12 and 11 points, respectively.
Import Markeith Cummings led Kia with 31 points, 10 rebounds and six assists, but was not enough to lift the Picanto to the victory.
PHOENIX 118—Phelps 33, Intal 19, Jazul 18, Eriobu 12, Baguio 11, Dehesa 9, Alolino 8, W. Wilson 4, Kramer 2, J. Wilson 2, Lanete 0, Hayes 0, Borboran 0, Miranda 0.
KIA 105—Cummings 31, Galanza 15, Jaime 11, Revilla 10, Paniamogan 9, Caperal 8, Khobuntin 7, Teng 5, Corpuz 4, Celda 3, Camson 2, Ballesteros 0, Elorde 0, Salva 0.
Quarter scores: 33-24, 57-48, 83-75, 118-105.