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PBA: Don’t look now: Mahindra eyes 5-0

Games Today
(Smart Araneta)
4:15 p.m. – Mahindra vs Phoenix
7 p.m. – Star vs NLEX

Mahindra has won against a recently-crowned Grand Slam team, survived the test versus the reigning champion, and outlasted a team that has made the finals in four of the last five conferences.

Next up for the Enforcer?

The ‘Destructor’ Eugene Phelps.

Mahindra’s unbeaten slate and franchise best start will again be at stake when it tackles Phoenix – a team powered by import Phelps – in the PBA Governors’ Cup today at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Phelps lived up to his billing when he made his PBA debut, bringing total destruction to Globalport as he exploded for 52 points in a 120-107 win over the Batang Pier last July 31.

The production of Phelps was the highest for a debuting import since Purefoods reinforcement Darius Rice scored 56 points during the 2008 Fiesta Cup, and the first 50-point game since Barangay Ginebra San Miguel’s Orlando Johnson had the same output in last season’s Governors’ Cup.

That win by the Fuel Masters was their first after a 0-3 start, and following that superb performance by Phelps, Phoenix is understandably oozing with confidence as it clashes with Mahindra at 4:15 p.m.

The encounter comes before the 7 p.m. match between Star and NLEX, with the Hotshots parading a new import in Joel Wright, who replaced former Best Import winner Marqus Blakely.

Wright, a veteran of the NBA D-League, will be matched against Road Warriors import Henry Walker as the two teams try to improve their 1-3 records as well as their playoffs chances.

Focus, however, is on the Mahindra-Phoenix encounter, as the Fuel Masters attempt where four teams have failed, including Star, the last team to capture the league’s Triple Crown in 2014, defending champion San Miguel Beer and Alaska – a finalist in four of the last five conferences.

The Enforcers have defeated the Hotshots, 100-92, won against the Batang Pier, 108-98, humbled the Beermen, 105-103, and survived a late comeback by the Aces, 101-95, last week.

The last two wins were extra special for Mahindra as Sen. Manny Pacquiao, mentor of the squad, surprised many when he watched the game against SMB and then played against Alaska.