PHOENIX just continues to overachieve this season.
The No. 1 seeded team booted out the Alaska Aces, 91-76, to make the PBA semifinals for the first time in franchise history on Sunday.
Sophomore Jason Perkins had a career-best 31 points for the Fuel Masters, who ripped their quarterfinal game apart behind a strong third quarter in which they outscored the Aces, 25-14.
With the Aces out of their way, the Fuel Masters now train their sights on the winner of the San Miguel-TnT Katropa series which they will meet in a best-of-seven Philippine Cup semifinal.
The 15-point win was also the first ever for Phoenix in the playoffs.
"Semis na kami, first in franchise history. And first win sa playoffs ng Phoenix in three years. So we're more than happy," said Phoenix coach Louie Alas.
Calvin Abueva scored 12 points, 11 rebounds, and five assists against his former team and Matthew Wright added 14 for the Fuel Masters, who also finished as the top-seeded feam for the first time in their short history.
The playoff stint was a short one for Alaska, which clinched the eighth and last quarterfinals berth just last Friday after beating NLEX in a do-or-die game.
JV Casio had a team-high 19 points for Alaska, which trailed by as many as 89-61 late in the fourth quarter.
"Gusto naming manalo pero not at the expense sana of Alaska," Alas said about his former team, where he once served as deputy to coaches Luigi Trillo and Alex Compton.
"Lalo na against kay coach Alex. Alam ninyo naman parang batang kapatid ko na yan," he added. "But kailangan naming manalo dahil may trabaho kaming ginagawa and that is to win and beat Alaska."
Phoenix (91) - Perkins 31, Wright 14, Abueva 12, Revilla 6, Jazul 6, Chua 6, Mendoza 6, Kramer 5, Marcelo 3, Mallari 2, Intal 0, Gamboa 0, Napoles 0, Guevarra 0.
Alaska (76) - Casio 19, Enciso 15, Teng 12, Banchero 6, Galliguez 6, Baclao 4, Cruz 4, Ayaay 3, Thoss 2, Pascual 2, Exciminiano 2, Racal 1, Babilonia 0.
Quarterscores: 18-15; 47-35; 72-49; 91-76.