May 24, 2024

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Phoenix staves off elimination with rousing 112-77 win against NLEX

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STAYING ALIVE. The Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters stave off elimination with a rousing 112-77 win against NLEX Road Warriors in the PBA Philippine Cup on April 20 at the Ynares Arena in Pasig City. PBA PHOTO

The Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters annihilated the NLEX Road Warriors with a resounding 112-77 victory on April 20 at the Ynares Arena in Pasig City, showcasing their determination to stave off elimination and secure a coveted playoff berth in the PBA Philippine Cup.

From the opening tip-off, it was evident that Phoenix came to the Ynares Arena in Pasig with a singular purpose: to dismantle their opponents. 

Jayjay Alejandro and RJ Jazul spearheaded the onslaught in the first half, bombarding the basket with precision shots that left NLEX scrambling to find answers. Alejandro’s 16 points and Jazul’s scorching 19-point performance, fueled by six three-pointers, set the tone for Phoenix’s offensive explosion.

Kenneth Tuffin, not to be outdone, joined the scoring frenzy with 17 points, contributing to Phoenix’s highest-margin victory since their acquisition of the Barako Bull franchise in 2016. 

Despite a minor altercation between Tuffin and rookie teammate Enoch Valdez, the Fuel Masters’ cohesive play overwhelmed NLEX, showcasing their potential for a deep playoff run.

Coach Jamike Jarin, clearly pleased with his team’s performance, emphasized the importance of continued improvement. 

Coach Jarin underscored the significance of climbing up from the bottom of the standings, highlighting the positive momentum gained, but he acknowledged that there is still considerable work required to secure a playoff berth.

Phoenix’s offensive efficiency was matched by their defensive tenacity, holding NLEX to a paltry 29.5% shooting from the field. 

The Road Warriors, struggling to find their rhythm, managed just 26-of-88 attempts, with Robert Bolick—usually a potent scorer—limited to a mere 11 points on 3-of-13 shooting.

The disparity in performance was glaring as Phoenix connected on 56.2% of their shots, including an impressive 51.5% from beyond the arc. Their precision shooting effectively sealed NLEX’s fate early in the game.

With this crucial win, Phoenix bolstered their playoff aspirations, improving to a 3-5 win-loss record. Coach Jarin emphasized the need to maintain momentum in their remaining games to secure a spot in the postseason.

On the flip side, NLEX faces a critical juncture in their season. The back-to-back losses have dampened their hopes of securing a top-two finish, with tough matchups against San Miguel Beer, Rain or Shine, and Barangay Ginebra looming large.

For NLEX, the road ahead demands significant adjustments to reignite their championship ambitions. Coach Yeng Guiao must rally his team to rediscover their winning formula and regain their competitive edge before it’s too late.

As the playoff race intensifies, both teams are acutely aware of the stakes. For Phoenix, it’s about sustaining their upward trajectory. For NLEX, it’s about redemption and resurgence. The stage is set for a thrilling conclusion to the PBA Philippine Cup, where every game counts and every basket matters.

The boxcores:

PHOENIX 112 – Jazul 19, Tuffin 17, Alehandro 16, Salado 11, Perkins 10, Camacho 8, Rivero 8, Mocon 6, Garcia 6, Daves 3, Verano 3, Muyang 3, Lalata 2, Soyud 0

NLEX 77 – Valdez 16, Nermal 12, Bolick 11, Amer 11, Semerad 11, Fajardo 11, Herndon 3, Anthony 1, Napoles 1, Pascual 0, Nieto 0, Pascual 0, Rodger 0

Quarterscores: 24-17, 51-39, 79-62, 112-77

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