ANTIPOLO – Phoenix started to look like a team playing under Louie Alas as it shackled Kia, 125-102, for its first win in the PBA Philippine Cup on Wednesday night at the Ynares Center.
The Fuel Masters, executing the suffocating defense Alas is known to instill, forced the Picanto to error after error to atone for their opening-day loss to San Miguel and gift their new coach his first win at the helm.
The Fuel Masters also clicked on offense, turning to a balanced effort that saw JC Intal, Matthew Wright, and Justin Chua tallying 15 points apiece and leading seven players scoring in twin digits as they dealt the Picanto their second straight loss.
“Against Kia, sabi ko, ‘di kami pwedeng pumunta sa game na expecting mananalo,” Alas said. “We just had to practice as hard as we can and tingnan natin yung pinakamagandang individual defense, ilabas natin against Kia kasi very talented sila individually.”
Phoenix also snapped a 10-game losing streak dating back to the last Governors’ Cup, grabbing their first win since July 22 when they survived an Alaska team where Alas was still coach Alex Compton’s top deputy.
It was their defense that sparked the Fuel Masters victory as the Picanto committed 27 turnovers, having a tough time just crossing the halfcourt to set up their attack no thanks to Phoenix’s full-court pressure.
Playmakers Gelo Alolino and RJ Jazul registered 13 points apiece, Jason Perkins and Doug Kramer added 12 points each, while Joseph Eriobu was the other player who scored in double figures with 11 markers.
Rashawn McCarthy led the Picanto with a game-high 22 points, seven boards, six assists, one steal, and one block, against six turnovers in 39 minutes that went for naught.
PHOENIX 125 — Intal 15, Chua 15, Wright 15, Alolino 13, Jazul 13, Perkins 12, Kramer 12, Eriobu 11, Dehesa 7, Gamboa 6, Revilla 6, Cortes 0, Guevarra 0, Wilson 0
KIA 102 — McCarthy 22, Camson 15, Paniamogan 13, Corpuz 12, Reyes 11, Galanza 7, Ababou 7, Jamon 5, Yee 4, Khobuntin 3, Celda 2, Sara 0
Quarterscores: 24-14, 53-40, 88-69, 125-102