The Phoenix Fuel Masters displayed their grit and resilience as they overcame the ejection of their import, Du’Vaughn Maxwell, to pull off a 125-100 victory over the Terrafirma Dyip in the PBA Governors’ Cup on Saturday, February 18.
Maxwell was instrumental in giving Phoenix a 23-point lead before he was ejected with 6:32 remaining in the third quarter.
He had already received an earlier technical foul and was subsequently penalized with a flagrant foul penalty and one landing spot infraction.
Despite his shortened playing time, Maxwell still managed to put up impressive numbers, finishing with 20 points, 12 rebounds, and six assists.
Following Maxwell’s exit, the Fuel Masters’ local players stepped up to the challenge, led by Jason Perkins who had 14 points, Javee Mocon with 13 points in his return to action after undergoing a knee procedure to remove bone spurs, Encho Serrano with 12 points, RR Garcia with 11 points, and Sean Manganti with 10 points.
Their combined efforts allowed Phoenix to maintain their lead and secure the victory.
Phoenix head coach Topex Robinson praised his team’s resilience in the face of Maxwell’s ejection, stating that the team’s mentality of “next man up” was key in securing the win.
“It was unfortunate that he was ejected. But what he did in the first half, that actually helped us have that lead,” Robinson said of Maxwell. “When we lost him in the third, everybody stepped up. So everybody contributed and we got the win after 48 minutes.”
Robinson also expressed his satisfaction with Maxwell’s performance, especially after a lackluster showing in their previous game against Magnolia.
The coach highlighted Maxwell’s ability to do the “dirty job” on the court, such as rebounding, changing shots, and blocking shots, which may not always show up in the stat sheet.
Juami Tiongson led Terrafirma by pouring in 27 points as teammates Alex Cabagnot and Eric Camson chipped in 16 and 15 points, respectively.
However, their import Jordan Williams was held in check, limited to only 14 points and 10 rebounds by Phoenix’s suffocating defense
The win improved Phoenix’s record to 2-5 overall, tying them with the Terrafirma Dyip who are currently on a skid. The Fuel Masters will look to continue their momentum as they push for a playoff spot in the PBA Governors’ Cup.
Phoenix 125 – Maxwell 20, Perkins 14, Mocon 13, Serrano 12, Garcia 11, Manganti 10, Lojera 9, Camaco 8, Muyang 5, Adamos 6, Tio 5, Alejandro 5, Lalata 4, Jazul 3, Soyud 0, Go 0.
Terrafirma 100 – Tiongson 27, Cabagnot 16, Camson 15, J.Williams 14, Gomez de Liano 6, Cahilig 5, Alolino 5, Mina 4, Ramos 3, Daquioag 3, Gabayni 2, Calvo 0, Grospe 0.