The Phoenix Fuel Masters held off several Columbian Dyip rallies to pull away with a 108-98 win in the Philippine Cup on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Fuel Masters set the tone early, sputtered a few times along the way, but shifted into high gear each time to stay atop the leaderboard with their third straight victory.
Matthew Wright led all scorers with 22 points on 3-of-7 shooting from beyond the arc to go with three rebounds and a pair of assists.
Jason Perkins chipped in 14 points and 11 rebounds, while LA Revilla scored 12 points including key baskets down the stretch that fended off the Dyip. Revilla also had seven assists and four rebounds.
Meanwhile, Calvin Abueva finished with 16 points, nine rebounds, three assists, and three steals in his first time going up against rookie CJ Perez, who has drawn comparisons with "The Beast."
Perez wound up with 10 points, eight rebounds, six assists, two steals, and a pair of blocks.
It was another rookie in JP Calvo, though, who was at the heart of a Dyip rally that pulled the team to within five early in the fourth period.
Calvo spun around big man Justin Chua for a layup, 82-77 with 10:34 remaining in the final frame. He would score four straight points a few possessions later, but the Fuel Masters would restore order with a balanced attack. Calvo refused to give up and scored in back-to-back possessions to slice the deficit to eight, 106-98 but time was not on the Dyip's side. Wright sealed the victory with a jumper in the dying seconds.
Calvo finished with team-high 18 points and two rebounds. Jackson Corpuz and Eric Camson combined for 26 points.
Rashawn McCarthy had 10 points, five rebounds, five assists, and two steals in a foul-plagued performance. He got his fifth foul with still four minutes and 30 seconds remaining in the penultimate quarter.
The Dyip dropped to 1-1 after stunning defending champion San Miguel Beer in the opener.
Phoenix 108 - Wright 22, Abueva 16, Perkins 14, Intal 13, Revilla 12, Kramer 8, Marcelo 7, Jazul 6, Chua 4, Mendoza 2, Napoles 2, Dennison 2, Mallari 0.
Columbian 98 - Calvo 18, Camson 13, Corpuz 13, McCarthy 10, Perez 10, Reyes 9, Celda 9, Escoto 8, Khobuntin 6, Agovida 2, Cahilig 0, Cabrera 0, Tabi 0.
Quarterscores: 24-14, 53-47, 82-72, 108-98.
- Phoenix amped up on defense early on, allowing them to go on a 12-0 berserk in the opening salvo and set the tone of the match.
- It took awhile before Columbian got its bearing going and trimmed a 19-point gap to five, 48-43, with a furious 22-8 rally in the second period.
- With Jerramy King relatively out for the rest of the conference with a PCL injury, the Dyip activated rookie Cyrus Tabi.
Phoenix - vs Blackwater on February 1 at the Ynares Center in Antipolo
Columbian - vs NorthPort on January 25 at the Ynares Center in Antipolo