Phoenix Petroleum, led by hardworking import Jameel McKay, torched Alaska, 94-86, on Friday to halt a two-game losing skid in the Philippine Basketball Association Season 42 Commissioner’s Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.
The Fuel Masters leaned on McKay’s prolific scoring that resulted in their first win over the Aces since joining the league in 2016.
McKay tallied 17 of his career-high 42 points on 16-of-25 shooting from the field in the first quarter on top of 22 rebounds, two steals and two blocks. But cramps forced him to leave the court under the last two-minute mark.
“I’m not a prolific scorer although I remember that in my high school days I scored 44, but my 42-point performance is my professional high,” said McKay, adding that there’s nothing to worry about his cramps. “I feel good right now. I just need to be rehydrated and get a few days of rest.”
The Fuel Masters were leading in the first two quarters, 25-19 and 42-36. They eventually stretched their lead to 78-66 with still 5:52 left in the game after McKay’s dunk shot.
Big man Doug Kramer, who substituted for McKay, jacked up their lead, 90-81, after scoring a basket with only 1:13 remaining.
Point guard RJ Jazul, with only 34 ticks left, scored three – two of which where free throws, 94-84, that sealed the win for the Fuel Masters.
“I talked to RJ (Jazul) and Cyrus (Baguio) last Wednesday and I said I knew that Alaska was your family before, but I haven’t felt that you’re with us,” said Phoenix coach Ariel Vanguardia. “And there has to come a time you have to step up.”
Phoenix’s win-loss record improved to 3-4.
“Jameel (McKay) is getting better everyday, and we know how to play with him.”
Swingman Cyrus Baguio finished with 12 points and six rebounds, while Jazul had 10 points and eight assists also for the Fuel Masters that also beat the Aces in rebound, 47-39.
The Aces, which were playing with injured players Calvin Abueva (busted lips), Vic Manuel (sprain), Chris Banchero (dislocated finger) and Noy Baclao (burn knee), suffered two straight losses resulting in a 4-2 win-loss record.
Alaska import Corey Jefferson, clearly outclassed by McKay, finished with 31 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks. Jayvee Casio contributed 14 points, five rebounds and five assists.
PHOENIX 94 – McKay 42, Baguio 12, Jazul 10, Wright 7, Borboran 7, Kramer 6, Alolino 5, Miranda 5, Torres 0, Dehesa 0.
ALASKA 86 – Jefferson 31, Casio 14, Thoss 8, Exciminiano 6, Racal 6, Mendoza 6, Enciso 5, Cruz 3, Dela Cruz 3, Hontiveros 2, Andrada 2, Pascual 0.
Quarter Scores: 25-19, 42-36, 66-62, 94-86.