PHOENIX started its ambitious quest to join the PBA's elite as it dismantled Kia, 118-105, on Wednesday night as the Governors' Cup got going at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Fuel Masters led from start to finish then broke away in the final canto for a steong start in the season-ending conference.
Eugene Phelps, known for his 50-point outbursts in his debuts, settled for still solid numbers of 33 points and 14 boards, while RJ Jazul sparked the late salvo against one of the teams that denied them of a top six finish in the Commissioner's Cup.
"It's a good start for us," Phoenix coach Ariel Vanguardia said. "We broke our losing streak from last conference, which started with a loss to Mahindra. It was payback time."
Jazul fired half of his 18 points in the payoff period, highlighted by a triple that allowed the Fuel Masters to breach the 100-point barrier and gave them a 14-point lead halfway through the period after the Picanto pulled to within a point in the third quarter.
JC Intal also delivered with 19 points, seven boards, three assists, and one block in 28 minutes, while Joseph Eriobu and Cyrus Baguio also scored in double figures.
Phelps didn't even have to play in the last five minutes as the locals took over.
Markeith Cummings led the Picanto with 31 points and 10 boards, while Bong Galanza added 15 markers in 26 minutes off the bench that went for naught.