THERE’S no such thing as first-game funks for Eugene Phelps.
The prolific import hit the ground running in his second tour of duty for Phoenix in leading his team to a 118-116 double-overtime squeaker over Blackwater on Saturday to get its Commissioner’s Cup campaign off on the right foot.
Phelps poured in 53 points and 21 boards along with five blocks, and one assists in 54 minutes as the Fuel Masters outlasted an Elite side that paraded an equally dominant reinforcement in Greg Smith who tallied 37 points and 30 caroms at the Astrodome in Pasay City.
Phelps exploded for 52 points in his PBA debut in the Governors’ Cup.
“Both teams probably deserved to win tonight, but we just had something more,” a relieved Phoenix coach Ariel Vanguardia said.
“We know what Eugene can give us and they also have a very good import in Greg Smith,” he added.
The two standout Americans shouldered most of the load for their respective teams, trading baskets throughout the game, with Smith scoring a hook over his counterpart that dragged the game to a second overtime.
Smith, however, ran out of gas from there as he wound up scoreless in the second extra session.
Phelps, though, was consistent all-game long, scoring six points in the second overtime, including four straight that sparked six unanswered points, capped by a breakaway layup by Mark Borboran who caught the Elite defense napping and gave the Fuel Maters a 118-113 lead.
JC Intal, Cyrus Baguio, and Willy Wilson also scored in twin digits for the Fuel Masters, while Mac Belo, Mike DiGregorio, and Roi Sumang provided the local support for the Elite in a losing effort.
PHOENIX 118 – Phelps 53, Intal 11, Baguio 10, W. Wilson 10, Alolino 9, Jazul 8, Borboran 8, J. Wilson 3, Lanete 2, Miranda 2, Kramer 2, Dehesa 0, Eriobu 0
BLACKWATER 116 – Smith 37, Belo 21, Digregorio 13, Sumang 11, Pascual 8, Sena 7, Gamalinda 7, Miranda 6, Ababou 3, Forrester 0, Pinto 0, Cervantes 0, Aguilar 0
Quarterscores: 18-18, 38-45, 76-75, 100-100, 118-116