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    Jan 1, 2022
    Phoenix in 2021 Matthew Wright Topex Robinson Paul Harris Chris Banchero
    The Fuel Masters fell short of matching their 2020 performance.
    PHOTO: PBA Images

    PHOENIX Super LPG only had a handful of changes made for its 2021 campaign, but it still surprised many fans as it involved a key player from previous seasons. The Fuel Masters also didn’t make it to the playoffs after what was a promising 2020 for the team. Here are the club’s notable moments in 2021.

    MANUEL’S BRIEF STINT

    arwind santos Vic Manuel phoenix vs SMB

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    Phoenix acquired Vic Manuel in a trade with Alaska before the start of the Philippine Cup. Manuel normed 12.8 points in 11 games with the Fuel Masters, but injuries also forced him to miss three games or play in limited minutes. He was then traded to NorthPort for Sean Anthony, but eventually landed with San Miguel shortly after the deal.

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    PHOENIX MISSES PLAYOFFS

    The Fuel Masters crawled their way during the Philippine Cup campaign, winning only four games. Still, Phoenix earned a chance to advance to the quarterfinals in a playoff with Barangay Ginebra for the eighth and final spot but the Fuel Masters lost, 95-85, in the knockout game.

    FIRST CHRISTMAS GAME IN FRANCHISE HISTORY

    Phoenix got the distinct opportunity to play on Christmas Day, a marquee event for the PBA, for the first time in franchise history as it faced NLEX at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum with spectators at the venue. The Fuel Masters won, 102-93, behind the efforts of Matthew Wright despite the loss of Paul Harris early in the game due to an injury.

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      PAUL HARRIS PBA RETURN

      One of the well-known imports in the recent history of the PBA made a return to the league as Paul Harris suited for the Fuel Masters during the Governors’ Cup. Known for being a member of the Talk ‘N Text squad that won the 2011 Commissioner’s Cup crown, the 35-year-old Harris came back five years after his aborted stint with Ginebra where he only played in one game before being replaced by Justin Brownlee due to an injury.

      PHOENIX TRADES ABUEVA

      Chris Banchero and Calvin Abueva

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      After his triumphant return to the league in 2020 following a 16-month suspension, Calvin Abueva was on the move as Phoenix Super LPG decided to trade him to Magnolia for Chris Banchero in February. Phoenix management later admitted that Abueva’s enigmatic ways was one of the reasons why the team made the change just months before his suspension was lifted by the PBA.

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      The Fuel Masters fell short of matching their 2020 performance.
      PHOTO: PBA Images
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