PHOENIX clicked on both ends again as it frustrated NLEX, 102-95, to start the New Year on a positive note at the resumption of the PBA Philippine Cup on Sunday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Fuel Masters shackled the Road Warriors’ key guards in Kiefer Ravena and Kevin Alas while also delivering on offense as they registered their second straight win after starting the season with a loss.
Phoenix’s top guns, on the other hand, were on target as Matthew Wright tallied 19 points on four triples while Jeff Chan added 18 points – all in the first three quarters – off the bench as the Fuel Masters dealt the Road Warriors their first loss in three games.
“The key there was we were able to contain their perimeter guys,” Phoenix coach Louie Alas said. “Ma-limit mo lang production nila, I guess we’re in good shape.”
Indeed, the Fuel Masters put the clamps on the Road Warriors star guards as Ravena was held to just eight points on 4-of-13 shooting after averaging 19 markers in his first two games as a pro, although the prized rookie dished out seven assists in 29 minutes of play off the bench.
Kevin Alas, son of the Phoenix coach, contributed just six points on 2-of-7 shooting, along with three assists, and two boards in less than 17 minutes on the court as a starter.
As a result, Louie Alas won against his son in their first meeting since the former took the helm at Phoenix, with Kevin always winning against his dad when Louie was still an Alaska assistant coach.
Larry Fonacier was one of the few bright spots for the Road Warriors as the veteran gunner put up a game-high 22 points, including two from the charity stripe that pulled NLEX closest at 88-92 halfway through the payoff period.
The Fuel Masters, though, held on as Wright and co. had an answer for every NLEX basket.
PHOENIX 102 - Wright 19, Chan 18, Jazul 15, Perkins 14, Chua 12, Kramer 10, Revilla 6, Wilson 2, Intal 2, Dehesa 2, Eriobu 2, Alolino 0
NLEX 95 - Fonacier 22, Tiongson 12, Miranda 10, Quiñahan 10, Al-Hussaini 8, Ravena 8, Taulava 6, Alas 6, Baguio 4, Gotladera 3, Ighalo 3, Buenafe 3
Quarterscores: 19-25, 54-53, 88-73, 102-95