PHOENIX drew power from JC Intal and rookie Matthew Wright to turn back Mahindra, 114-104 in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena last night.
The Fuel Masters chalked up their second straight win in the season-opening conference while leaving the Floodbuster in the cellar with three straight losses.
Intal led Phoenix’s offense with 24 points -- including an impressive 6-of-9 shooting from the field -- and grabbed seven rebounds to earn the best player of the game honor.
Wright, on the other hand, capped the night with 21 points and four rebounds.
Phoenix posted lead as big as 24, 78-54, midway in the fourth quarter, but lost some heat coming home in a windup.
Fuel Masters’ coach Ariel Vanguardia wasn’t too happy about it despite chalking up the victory.
“I wasn’t too happy the way we ended this game,” said Vanguardia. “If that’s the case, we should always be attacking and playing defense.”
He added that he will have to reiterate to his wards the importance of not relaxing in the game.
“I am aching to go back to the dugout to talk to the team,” said Vanguardia.
But he said a win is a win, nonetheless.
“We started the way we wanted,” he added.”
The win created a four-way tie for third to sixth spots among Talk ‘N Text, Blackwater, Phoenix and San Miguel. All are sporting 2-1 records.
Intal and Wright combined for 11 triples, six of which they hit in the first quarter at a time when Phoenix began to pull away.
The Fuel Masters got off to a fiery start, sinking seven out of 11 triples in the opening period.
Wright and Intal each buried three during that frame to put up a 32-23 lead.
Phoenix continued their offensive attacks in the second period, and left Mahindra clueless on defense.
The Fuel Masters erected a comfortable 60-43 halftime cushion and launched an 8-0 run to begin the second half to give them a 68-43 advantage.
Intal’s triple and thunderous fastbreak dunk gave Phoenix its biggest lead at 30 points, 105-75, with 9:20 remaining in the game.
Phoenix (114) -- Intal 24, Wright 21, Enciso 12, Caperal 12, Baguio 10, Alolino 10, Torres 8, Lanete 7, Borboran 4, W.Wilson 3, Miranda 2, Javillonar 1, J.Wilson 0, Hayes 0.
Mahindra (104) -- Mallari 19, Paniamogan 15, Arana 12, Eriobu 12, Yee 11, Apinan 10, Celda 10, Nimes 6, Guevarra 5, Escoto 2, Revilla 2, Ballesteros 0, Deutchman 0, Salva 0.
Quarterscores: 32-23, 60-43, 95-68, 114-104.