Calvin Abueva returned from a 16-month ban to help Phoenix Super LPG to a 114-110 win over NLEX in the PBA Philippine Cup on Monday at the AUF Arena in Angeles, Pampanga.
The Phoenix Super LPG erased an early 14-point deficit and dominated the fourth quarter to cruise to their fourth win in six games.
Abueva's suspension was lifted Sunday and didn't miss a beat, finishing with 21 points, 13 rebounds, and 7 assists. His aggression was controlled, but his energy still did wonders for the Fuel Masters. No one was more pleased than head coach Topex Robinson.
"It's really magical that he's here. We wanna thank the Commissioner's Office, the Board of Governors for finally allowing him to inspire a lot of people," Robinson said. "We're just happy to have him back."
Abueva was in great basketball shape and showed no sign of rust in over 31 minutes of action.
"I really prepared for this game. I slept early last night. My mindset was helping the team win today," Abueva said.
Matthew Wright, Jason Perkins, and Justin Chua also played key roles in the win.
Wright was on target as usual, unloading 4 3-pointers on the way to 28 points. Jason Perkins opened the scoring spree in the fourth and had 20 points and 13 rebounds before fouling out with 1:19 remaining.
Chua, meanwhile, scored 19 points including the last four free throws that sealed the win for the Fuel Masters.
While Phoenix is on a roll, NLEX was mired in the cellar with a 1-5 record.
Raul Soyud had the best game of his PBA career with 27 points and 3 rebounds. But much of that contributed to Kiefer Ravena's quarterbacking. Ravena finished with 10 assists to go with 18 points and 5 rebounds.
JR Quinahan and Kevin Alas added 18 and 15 points, respectively.
PHOENIX 114 - Wright 28, Abueva 21, Perkins 20, Chua 19, Rios 10, Garcia 6, Heruela 4, Jazul 4, Intal 2.
NLEX 110 - Soyud 27, Quinahan 18, Ravena 18, McAloney 14, Alas 15, Miranda 6, Semerad 2, Cruz 8, Ayonayon 2, Varilla 0, Ighalo 0.
It was Robinson's first game as head coach against his former mentor Yeng Guiao. Robinson played for Guiao at Red Bull in the 2000s.
Ravena will turn 27 on October 27.
NLEX vs. TNT at 6:45 p.m. on Oct. 29.
Phoenix vs. Alaska at 4 p.m. on Oct. 29.