PBA: Phoenix clobbers Alaska to book playoff berth
Phoenix Pulse banked on its defensive might to rout Alaska, 94-80, and formalize its entry into playoffs in the nightcap of PBA Philippine Cup hostilities on Friday at MOA Arena.
Calvin Abueva proved to be the biggest thorn to the Aces’ side, posting 21 points, 16 rebound and a block. Matthew Wright chimed in 20 markers and three assists.
“Big break because we faced a depleted team. But still, I give credit to my guys. They were exhausted from the last game and yet they pressured. We were able to expand our lead in the third because of that.”
Phoenix’s leech-like defense helped their lead swell to as many as 26 in the final frame.
Alaska relied on Jeron Teng and Carl Bryan Cruz who accounted for 23 and 10 points, respectively. Although those were the only double digit performances the Aces drew from a roster that was sorely missing Vic Manuel and JVee Casio.
RJ Jazul and Justine Chua combined for 29 to help in the scoring effort and propel the FuelMasters alongside lone tormentor Rain or Shine as the only teams enjoying a 7-1 record.
Alas, having ticked one thing off his list, now aims for another in the all-Filipino conference.
“This is only formalizes our entry [to the quarterfinals]. We are now aiming for the top two spots to prepare us for the semifinals,” he said.
Phoenix now braces for its last three opponents—the troika of San Miguel teams—which Alas regards as the “heavyweights.” They face the listless Magnolia first this next Wednesday at Araneta Coliseum.
Alaska, which dipped to a 2-2 card, takes on crowd darlings Barangay Ginebra this Sunday in Antipolo.
Phoenix 94 – Abueva 21, Wright 20, Jazul 18, Chua 11, Mallari 9, Perkins 6, Mendoza 4, Guevarra 3, Kramer 2, Revilla 0, Marcelo 0, Gamboa 0, Napoles 0, Dennison 0.
Alaska 80 – Teng 23, Ayaay 13, Cruz 10, Pascual 8, Enciso 7, Exciminiano 6, Banchero 4, Galliguez 4, Baclao 3, Thoss 2, Andrada 0.
Quarters: 29-22, 51-40, 74-53, 94-80.
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