Phoenix is no.2

November 04, 2018

IN its best showing yet in the franchise’s  two-year  history, Phoenix will be No. 2 seed with a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals of the  PBA Governors Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Calvin Abueva  and  Matthew Wright took matters into their own hands during a decisive stretch in the  fourth quarter as Phoenix  brought  down Blackwater, 97-91, and  clinch No. 2 spot behind  Ginebra at the end of  the elimination round.

Phoenix coach Louie Alas was obviously pleased with the outcome. 

“Talagang gusto  namin mag-top four,” said Alas.

“But I  told the boys  that for us to go to the  next level, we need to make multiple stops at every possession. I told them na you have to take pride in your defense,” he  added.

“Nung first half, masyadong maraming silang easy baskets. Ina-atake ‘yung mga guards namin.”

Alas said he is  not concerned  whicht eam he will meet in the quarterfinals.

“Wala kang pwedeng piliin pero siyempre gusto namin sitwasyon  namin. You never know, baka  mag-semis kami  this conference,” said Alas.

“At least  we’re one foot away, pero parehong  very dangerous ang makakalaban. Alam n’yo naman ang NLEX kapag galing sa talo. At the same time, iyung Meralco, four-game winning streak.”

Abueva, nicknamed “The Beast”, finished  with 25 points on 8-of-13  shooting in  almost 22 minutes.

The 6-2  forward, who was acquired by Phoenix in a trade with Alaska Milk last August, also had eight rebounds, two assiosts and one steal for  the Fuel Masters.

Wright  added 23 points,  seven rebounds and seven assists.

His clutchtwo-pointer with 41.8 seconds left in the  payoff period secured the win for  Phoenix.

Import  Eugene Phelps had a double-double of 16 points and 19 rebounds in Phoenix’s  all-important  win.

The Fuel Masters’ 8-3 win-loss record is  the best since the franchise   joined Asia’s  first  play-for-pay  league  after taking over the  Red Bull franchise in 2016.

Henry Walker came though with 21  points  while  Nard Pinto added  17 points and 10 assists for Blackwater, which fell to 7-4 and fifth  seed and a  quarterfinal showdown against  fourth seed Magnolia.

The  Elite lost  Mike  DiGregorio after he was  ejected for  throwing  the ball at Phelps  in the second quarter.

DiGregorio  only had two points for the  Elite.

The top four teams have the luxury of   having to win only once over their quarterfinal opponents to  make the  semifinal round right away.

The scores:

Phoenix  (97) -- Abueva 25, Wright 23, Phelps 16, Revilla 11, Perkins 9, Jazul 4, Chua 4, Intal 3, Wilson 1, Alolino 1, Kramer 0.

Blackwater  (91) -- Walker 21, Pinto 17,  Zamar 12, Belo 10, Erram 9, Maliksi 9,  Digregorio 7, Al-Hussaini 4, Javier 2, Cortez 0, Sumang 0, Jose 0.

Quarterscores:  21-18, 44-48, 72-69, 97-91.