by Jonas Terrado
Games Today (Ynares Center, Antipolo City)
4:30 p.m. – NLEX vs Meralco
6:45 p.m. – Ginebra vs Columbian
League-leading Phoenix Pulse prevented Blackwater from ending another perfect start after rolling to a 114-95 victory last night in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
Calvin Abueva produced 22 points, 14 rebounds, and four assists, Matthew Wright made 19 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, and five steals, and Jason Perkins added 15 as the Fuel Masters leaned on a hot start to remain the only unbeaten team in the season-opening conference.
A 37-point first quarter powered by Abueva’s 10 points and a combined 13 from Wright and Perkins set the tone for a dominant display for Phoenix despite coming off a nine-day rest.
The Fuel Masters, who improved to 4-0, led by a high of 37 points, 85-48, on RJ Jazul’s three-pointer with 4:33 remaining in the third before the Elite tried to make it respectable in the end.
Coach Louie Alas stretched the team’s best start since entering the league in the 2016 Commissioner’s Cup on the day he became a first-time grandfather.
Alas’ eldest son Junjun and wife Kim welcomed the birth of their baby daughter Kamy.
Justin Chua and Alex Mallari added 12 points each and Jaypee Mendoza was the sixth Fuel Master in double figures with 10.
Rookie Abu Tratter had 24 points, eight rebounds, and four steals but Blackwater fell to 1-3, two nights after snapping Rain or Shine’s 2-0 start with a 111-99 victory at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.
But the Elite never recovered after the Fuel Masters led by 19 to end the first.
PHOENIX 114 – Abueva 22, Wright 19, Perkins 15, Chua 12, Mallari 12, Jazul 11, Mendoza 10, Intal 3, Kramer 3, Dennison 3, Revilla 2, Napoles 2, Marcelo 0, Guevarra 0, Gamboa 0.
BLACKWATER 95 – Tratter 24, Belo 13, Maliksi 12, Desiderio 12, Javier 8, Digregorio 5, Cortez 5, Palma 4, Dario 4, Banal 3, Sumang 2, Eriobu 2, Sena 1, Jose 0, Alolino 0.
Quarters: 37-18, 66-42, 90-62, 114-95.