By JONAS TERRADO
New import Du’Vaughn Maxwell made a strong impression in his debut as Phoenix Super LPG defeated Alaska, 104-99, Thursday to snap a three-game skid in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Maxwell was what the doctor ordered for the team as he put up 21 points and 21 rebounds after replacing Dominique Sutton as the Fuel Masters overcame multiple comebacks by the Aces to go 5-5 with one game left in the eliminations.
Matthew Wright dropped 26 points with seven rebounds and 11 assists, Jason Perkins scored 22 points and RJ Jazul added 21 in also helping Phoenix climb to sole possession of seventh spot.
“We know how important this game is for us, and we also know that Alaska is on a run,” said Fuel Masters coach Topex Robinson.
“And we respect that team so much, we just have to make sure that we play it all out, and making sure also that we’re focusing on what we prepared for, coming into this game.”
Alaska dropped to 6-4, denying itself a chance to become the third team to clinch a quarterfinals spot in the season-ending conference.
Import Olu Ashaolu had 24 points, 10 rebounds and six assists and Robbie Herndon added 17 points on five triples but the Aces fell to fourth place.
Meanwhile, KJ McDaniels will try to give NLEX a twice-to-beat advantage in his final game against Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Friday at the Big Dome.
The Road Warriors wrap up their elimination round campaign in the 6 p.m. match with the Gin Kings before McDaniels hands over the responsibilities to his replacement Cameron Clark in the quarters.
Clark was brought in by NLEX with McDaniels set to fly back to the United States as his wife is expected to give birth this month.
NLEX, holding a 7-3 record for second place, is fully aware of McDaniels’ situation in advance, but the postponement of games in January led to the situation.
Ginebra is looking at a third consecutive win and put itself in contention for a quarters spot.
TNT returns to action after some of its players represented Gilas Pilipinas in the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers in the 3 p.m. opener opposite winless Blackwater.
PHOENIX 104 — Wright 26, Perkins 22, Jazul 21, Maxwell 21, Porter 6, Manganti 5, Melecio 3, Rios 0, Robles 0, Demusis 0, Pascual 0, Garcia 0.
ALASKA 99 — Ashaolu 24, Herndon 17, DiGregorio 13, Ahanmisi 12, Teng 12, Taha 10, Tratter 7, Racal 2, Bulanadi 2, Faundo 0, Ilagan 0, Stockton 0.
Quarters: 31-20, 48-47, 81-74, 104-99.