Phoenix keeps winning, beats Magnolia behind Phelps
Phoenix pulled away in the fourth quarter to turn back Magnolia, 95-82, in the 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup Sunday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Prolific import Eugene Phelps was in his usual element, scoring at will and providing the defensive presence to rack up 36 points, 20 rebounds and four blocks to power the Fuel Masters.
“Magnolia is one of the best teams and we beat them,” said Phoenix head coach Louie Alas, whose squad climbed to second place in the standings with a 5-1 slate, just half a game behind undefeated Blackwater. “We were able to clamp down on their offensive guys especially in the third quarter.”
Alas said he challenged his players to come out strong in the second half after blowing a double-digit lead and allowing the Hotshots to pull even at halftime.
“I told them I can easily get mad at you but this is a question about your maturity. You all know what happened the last time we played Magnolia. We were leading by 10 in the fourth quarter and they still beat us,” Alas said.
“I told them to show their maturity and they responded in the third quarter which was our best quarter.”
Led by Phelps, Phoenix regained momentum to reestablish control of the game before sustaining its form and breaking loose thanks to a 12-3 run capped off by a Phelps dunk for an 87-75 Fuel Masters lead with only 3:34 left.
Matthew Wright added 13 points while Calvin Abueva collected nine points, 10 rebounds and five assists for Phoenix, which held Magnolia to just 32 percent from the field. Justin Chua also shone with 12 points, eight rebounds and three blocks.
The Fuel Masters won by double digits despite going missing 26 out of their 50 attempts from the free throw line. Phelps went 14-of-26 from the line while Abueva went 3-of-12.
Romeo Travis led the Hotshots (2-1) with 28 points and 19 rebounds but had seven turnovers.
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