Phoenix rises back to the top, Blackwater nabs their second win

The Phoenix Fuel Masters continue to roll in the Philippine Cup. They take home their seventh win in eight games after beating the Alaska Aces handily, 94-80. The Fuel Masters are tied for the top seed while the Aces fall to sixth with a 2-2 record.

Calvin Abueva tormented his former team all game long. He recorded 21 points, three treys and 16 rebounds to lead the Fuel Masters. Matthew Wright backed him up 20 points, while RJ Jazul came off the bench and scored 18. Jeron Teng led the Aces with 23 points and nine boards.

After the Aces took a slim one-point lead early in the game, Abueva, Wright and Mallari conspired to go on a 7-0 run to take control of the game. Phoenix took a seven-point lead after the first period. The Aces tried to fight back in the second period but Abueva shut the door on them. He took it strong to the hoop on back-to-back possessions to restore their lead. Abueva continued to stay aggressive as he knotted four straight points on free throws and a floater to give Phoenix a 10-point lead.

The Fuel Masters had momentum and would not let it go. They opened the second half with a 12-2 run to put the game away. Justin Chua and Alex Mallari played a big role in that run. The two combined for eight points and capped off the run with six straight points to put Phoenix up by 20. Abueva’s three-pointer to end the third period put the Fuel Masters up by 21. The Fuel Masters cruised all the way to the final buzzer.

The Fuel Masters were on fire from the field. They knocked down 49% of their shots from the field including 11 threes at a 44% clip. Phoenix’s offense was clicking as they had 22 assists on their 34 made field goals.

In the first game, the Blackwater Elite were in a tough battle against the Columbian Dyip. The Elite eked out a 106-100 win over the Dyip to get their second win of the conference. Blackwater stays at 11th with a 2-6 record while the Dyip get knocked back to the eighth seed at 3-5.

The Elite looked like they were going to run away with the game in the first period. Allein Maliksi teamed up with their young guns, Abu Tratter and Paul Desiderio to lead the team to a five-point advantage. Blackwater held the Columbian offense to just 19 points as they limited both Rashawn McCarthy and CJ Perez in the first 12 minutes.

Unfortunately for the Elite, Columbian found their rhythm in the second period. The outside shooting of the Dyip started connecting as Perez, Eric Camson, Roider Cabrera and Reden Celda all nailed three-pointers to help their team get to within one heading to the second half. The game turned into a dog fight from that point.

The Elite got key buckets in fourth period to build a comfortable cushion. Maliksi scored on a layup to open the fourth quarter. Mac Belo added a three-pointer and Rabeh Al-Hussaini scored on a jumper to build a seven-point lead. Columbian tried to get back into the game but Desiderio and Belo had an answer to every Dyip run. Belo scored the dagger with under a minute left in the game. He nailed a jumper to keep the lead at four, icing the game for Blackwater.