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    Reinvigorated Phoenix sustains rise, knocks Blackwater out of PBA playoff contention

    Sep 7, 2016
    Phoenix import Eugene Phelps breaks loose for a dunk. Jerome Ascano

    ANTIPOLO – Phoenix sustained its rise while Blackwater continued its free fall as the Fuel Masters rolled to a 93-81 victory on Wednesday night that knocked the Elite out of playoff contention in their PBA Governors' Cup.

    The Fuel Masters turned to another monster performance from Eugene Phelps while Simon Enciso and Mark Borboran sparked the late surge that led to their third straight victory – and fifth over the last six games.

    After getting stuck at the bottom with three straight losses to start the conference, the Fuel Masters have suddenly gained a crack at a Top Four spot after supplanting Meralco in fifth spot.

    New Blackwater import Keala King hardly impressed in his debut as the Elite absorbed a seventh straight loss and eighth overall against one win.

    “We’ll take this win although it wasn’t really a quality game for us,” said Fuel Masters coach Ariel Vanguardia, whose high-octane team won despite recording its lowest output in all its wins this conference.

    “And parang Forrest Gump yung mga point guards ko: they’re like a box of chocolates, I don’t know what I’m going to get,” the rookie coach added. “It was Simon who stepped up today.”

    Phelps registered a 25-25 output of 29 points and 26 boards on top of four assists and one steal in 42 minutes, while Enciso scored all but two of his 12 points in the payoff period where the Fuel Masters built their biggest lead at 14 after clinging on to only a three-point cushion heading into the quarter.

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    King tallied 14 points on just 11 attempts and eight boards as Art dela Cruz and Carlo Lastimosa carried most of the load for the Elite with 18 points apiece that went for naught.

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    Phoenix import Eugene Phelps breaks loose for a dunk. Jerome Ascano
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