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Phoenix stops 3-game slide, tops Alaska

Rchard Howell Phoenix

Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines—Phoenix Pulse slipped past a streaking Alaska, 78-76, arrest a three-game skid and give coach Louie Alas a victory in his return to action Saturday night at Araneta Coliseum. 

The Fuel Masters drew four double-digit performances from their personnel, most notably Alex Mallari, whose commendable showing helped the team improve to 2-3 in the Commissioner’s Cup standings. 

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“I felt like a rookie earlier,” said Alas, who served a two-game suspension following an eventful match against TNT earlier this month. “I was jittery all throughout the game.”

“I give credit to Alex,” he said of his veteran marksman, who finished with 15 points four rebounds and three steals next to import Richard Howell monstrous 24 points and 29 rebounds. “For the longest time, Alex was absent. He almost didn’t get to play because he was late for a couple of practices. Good thing we were able to patch that up.”

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Justin Chua added 10 points, including the go-ahead basket off an assist from Mallari with 9.8 ticks to go.

The Aces, meanwhile, turned to old reliables Chris Banchero and Vic Manuel, who scored 18 and 10, respectively, to make up for the lackluster effort by new import Nino Johnson, who only had six points and four rebounds.

Alaska’s inability to draw more from its cast and follow through on a last-ditch effort cost them their streak, sending them to a 4-3 record.

Phoenix now braces for Magnolia next, a team Alas regards with high esteem.

“It’ll be a dogfight on Saturday because both teams are coming off a win,” he said of their match at Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay next Saturday.

Meanwhile, Alaska looks to return to the win column when it takes on perennial powerhouse San Miguel the day before.

The scores: 

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Phoenix 78 – Howell 24, Mallari 15, Wright 14, Chua 10, Intal 6, Revilla 6, Perkins 2, Jazul 1, Kramer 0, Marcelo 0, Wilson 0, Dennison 0.

Alaska 76 – Banchero 18, Manuel 10, Thoss 8, Racal 8 Teng 6, Johnson 6, Casio 6, Cruz 6, Pascual 2, Enciso 2, Exciminiano 2, Ayaay 2, Galliguez 0. 

Quarterscores: 16-12, 35-30, 52-50, 78-76.

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TAGS: 2019 Commissioner's Cup, Alaska Aces, Alex Mallari, Justin Chua, Nino Johnson, PBA, Phoenix Fuel Masters, Richard Howell
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