Phoenix Explodes for 125 Points against Kia

Justin Chua Phoenix PBA
(Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

Justin Chua leads a balanced attack by the Fuel Masters.

The Phoenix Fuel Masters entered the league’s 43rd season with lots of confidence owing to the fact that they have one of the talented young rosters in the PBA today. They have sharpshooter Matthew Wright who is also one of the vital pieces in the national team. They also have JC Intal who can provide the leadership because of his experience and longevity in the league. But most importantly, they have Jason Perkins, a super rookie who can bang his body with some of the elite big men in the league. And, they have a new coach in Louie Alas.
After faltering in their first assignment to open the Philippine Cup, Phoenix bounced back, big time. They overwhelmed the still winless, Kia Picanto, 125-102. And nobody from the Fuel Masters has scored above 15 points. So just imagine the damage if Perkins and company exploded for more. Scary, isn’t it?
What happened in the game? Below are the numbers:

125 Points and a Balanced Attack

Sure, scoring 125 points is big for a team such as Phoenix but the beauty of it is that nobody has to force himself to score more because of the fact that they had 8 guys who scored in double figures:
  • Justin Chua- 15 points
  • Matthew Wright- 15 points
  • JC Intal- 15 points
  • RJ Jazul- 13 points
  • Gelo Alonino- 13 points
  • Jason Perkins- 12 points
  • Doug Kramer- 12 points
  • Joseph Eriobu- 11 points

Firing on All Cylinders

Phoenix shot 55% from the field including a 56% shooting from the three-point line. They had help from everyone as evident by the 72 points that the bench players of Louie Alas have accumulated. While doing that, the Fuel Masters also limited the Picanto to only 44% field goal shooting which included a horrible 34% from rainbow distance. The only area that Kia was able to outperform Phoenix was at the free throw line where Kia shot 95% compared to Phoenix who only made 55% of their free throws.

Rebounds and Second-Chance Points

Rebounds and second-chance points were two departments where the Fuel Masters had dominated all throughout the game. They had a 53-39 edge on the boards, including a 17-9 advantage on the offensive rebounds. That dominance on the offensive rebounds allowed Phoenix to subsequently get 19 second-chance points while Kia could only manage 6 points off their missed opportunities. 

Conclusion

Now that Phoenix has rebounded from their opening day defeat, this will help in terms of allowing the team to  build a sense of confidence that yes, despite being a young team with a new coach, they can play against the elite teams in the league and yes, they can beat teams at any given day. 
For Kia, they have fallen to 0-2. However, the conference is still in its early stage and they can definitely get better. They just need to act quickly. 

PBA Opening Day Crowd: Too Many Vacated Seats

Yesterday’s crowd was an indication of the fans’ displeasure towards the league

(Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

The PBA is back, ladies and gentlemen!

After a week of uncertainties which regards to whether or not we will get to witness the opening of the 43rd season of the league- on schedule, the PBA is back, folks. But, it didn’t start without drama, of course.
Just minutes prior to the opening ceremony, all 12 board members, led by PBA Chairman Ricky Vargas, held a press conference to announce that soon-to-be-ex PBA Commissioner Chito Narvasa has submitted his resignation but will be staying in office until the end of December to help during the transition. 
Then, came along the opening ceremony which featured some of the most beautiful ladies in the land as muses of the teams led by 2017 Miss World Philippines, Laura Lauhmann who was the chosen muse of the Talk N Text Ka Tropa. Then, the 12 team governors came to the center court to unveil the trophy that will be hosted by the champions of this conference come the Finals. 
Then, the main event came around as the San Miguel Beermen opened their title defense against the newly-reloaded Phoenix Fuel Masters who also have a new coach in Louie Alas. While the Fuel Masters managed to even take the lead during the early moments of the first half, the Beermen showed why they are the defending champions and probably, the best all-Filipino team that was assembled as they went on to win, 104-96.
While the game showed glimpses of what we can expect from the Fuel Masters, most especially from the rookie, Jason Perkins who had 10 points and 9 rebounds, the game also featured a notably high number of unoccupied seats around the Smart Araneta Coliseum. 
Some pundits thought that the low attendance during the league’s opening night game is one of the clear indications that PBA fans are no longer ignited by the way the league was operated during the last couple of seasons. And whether we like it or not, part of that lack of excitement from fans is the issue that has been raised for the longest time: inconsistency on the part of the referees. Although there are other possible reasons as to why there were many unoccupied seats last night, the league should take this low attendance seriously. They should listen to the fans.

Conclusion

Who knows? The resignation of Chito Narvasa MIGHT be the start of a new beginning for the PBA. If anything, the league has a lot of works to do if they intend to get back the excitement of the fans towards the PBA and changing commissioner is only a small step towards achieving that goal. 

Matthew Wright’s Performance and his Amazing Running Buzzer Beater

Matthew Wright Scored 12 Points Against Japan and he earned most of them from the Stripes

The 26-year-old Filipino-Canadian sharpshooter played more minutes than the best player of the game Jayson Castro at 29 minutes. Matthew Wright was a marked man from the start as he is well known for his exemplary shooting from the outside.
Against Japan, however, Matthew Wright had to settle getting his points from the free throw line. Matthew scored one 2-pointers and a 3-pointers in the game and the rest was earned with free throws. Matthew could not get himself going from the outside shooting (1/4) but his free throws did not fail him with a perfect 7/7 free throw percentage.

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While the Philippines was able to escape a tough Japanese foe with the score of 77-71, it is evident that we need to improve our overall shooting. As a team, Gilas Pilipinas only shot at 38% percent and this is below average. It was our lucky night as Japan shot much poorer with only 34.8% from the field.
Matthew who is one of our main gunners needs to further improve his shooting as he only shot 33%. 
Gilas Pilipinas’ next assignment will be Taiwan on November 27. The game will be held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in the Philippines.
Here is the amazing running jump shot at the buzzer!

Watson, Fajardo Lead the Way for SMB

SMB Wins a close one against Phoenix

The Kraken led the way with another dominant performance (Photo by PBA Media Bureau)
The Phoenix Fuel Masters took the lead early on in the first quarter, fell behind by double figures during the next 2 quarters before coming back alive during the dying minutes of the 4th quarter. In the end, it was the championship experience of June Mar Fajardo and the rest of the San Miguel Beermen that prevailed as they avoided an upset by defeating the eliminated Phoenix team, 109-107. And doing so wasn’t easy either even for an experienced team.
Like the other teams who are already assured of their respective quarterfinal slots, the San Miguel Beermen knew they have to win their remaining games if they want to improve their position come the quarterfinals.

Here’s the thing, if the Beermen win this game, they will be tied with the NLEX Road Warriors for the 4th spot which will give them a chance to earn a twice-to-beat advantage. If they lose, they will be tied with the Rain o Shine Elasto Painters for the 5th spot. Either way, the Beermen will be tied with another team and if you are a team who is gunning for a rare grand slam, you would surely prefer to be fighting for a twice-to-beat incentive in the quarterfinals, right?

After Fuel Masters import Brandon Brown scored 17 points in the first quarter alone, the Beermen, led Alex Cabagnot, June Mar Fajardo and Chris Ross, buckled up on defense as they successfully contained Brown during the entire second quarter alone which enable Leo Austria and his team to mount a comeback and eventually take the lead 56-52 heading into halftime.

While both teams struggled offensively, only shooting 37% in the field during the first half, the 2-pt field goal percentage of San Miguel proved to be the difference as they outperformed Phoenix 50% to 42% in that category during the entire game. Free throw shooting has also played an important part as well as total assists as the Beerman has proven again and again that they can beat any team if they are fluidly passing the ball around, looking for the best scoring option.

When the 3rd quarter started, the Beerman wasted no time pouring point after point after point. Marcio Lassiter converted on back-to-back three pointers and then the Kraken followed with a 3-point play, forcing Phoenix Coach Art Vanguardia to call a timeout with 9:30 to play in the quarter. The Beermen went on to keep a double-digit lead during majority of the third quarter.
Then, things got interesting in the 4th after Phoenix trimmed down San Miguel’s lead to 3 with under 8 minutes to spare in the game only to be answered by another Lassiter trey.

Both teams traded both made and missed baskets in the next few minutes of the 4th. The Fuel Master got as close as 2 points, at 98-96 with five minutes on Matthew Wright’s free throws. Then, on Brandon Brown’s free throws, the game was tied at 100 with under 3 minutes to go until the Beerman answered with 4 straight points to put their lead up by 4-points with under 2 minutes left.

The Fuel Masters still had one more chance to inch closer but Mathew Wright uncharacteristically air-balled a 3-pointer with under a minute left. To make things worse, Arwind Santos was able to tap the ball away from Brandon Brown then Fajardo was fouled and made both free throws. Jeff Chan later scores on a lay-up to cut the lead to 4, at 106-102 with 21 seconds to go in the game. Cabagnot made 1 of 2 free throws after winning a jump ball and then JC Intal nailed a  trey with under 10 seconds only to for Cabagnot to make 2 more throws to ice the game with 6 seconds to go.

The Fuel Masters scored on another basket with 1 second remaining but that proved to be their last hurrah as the Beermen dribbled away the clock off a timeout.

Terrence Watson led the way for the Beermen with 26 points to go along with 11 rebounds. Fajardo, for his part, finished with 24 points, 17 rebounds and 6 blocked shots. Alex Cabagnot also finished with 24 points and 13 rebounds to complement the performance of Watson and Fajardo.
On the other side, Brandon Brown had 30 points while Jeff Chan had 18 points on 8 out of 16 field goal shooting. JC Intal followed up with 12 points on his own. In fact, the bench of Phoenix actually outscored their San Miguel counterparts 33-22 but we all know that the Beermen have one of the best starting units in the PBA today.
Scores:
San Miguel – 109
Watson 26, Fajardo 24, Cabagnot 24, Santos 15, Lassiter 13, Ganuelas-Rosser 4, Espinas 3, Ross 0, Heruela 0, McCarthy 0, Pessumal 0, Reyes 0, Agovida 0, Semerad 0, Tubid 0, de Ocampo 0
Phoenix – 107
Brown 30, Chan 18, Intal 12, Eriobu 10, Alolino 9, W. Wilson 8, Dehasa 7, Wright 5, Lanete 4, Kramer 2, Jazul 2, J. Wilson 0, Hayes 0, Miranda 0, Ababou 0
Quarter scoring:
23-28, 56-52, 86-77, 109-107

Trade Alert: Cyrus Baguio, Mac Baracael and Dylan Ababou Change Uniforms

Baguio, Baracael and Ababou Reshuffled 

NLEX Road Warriors continues to make moves in order to make it’s team better than ever. The Road Warriors of the past is totally different than what it is now. After sometime suffering defeats after another Yeng Guiao has finally found a way to whip the struggling Road Warriors to now one of the best teams in the 2017 PBA Governors cup.
As of this writing, the Road Warriors is at 5 wins with only one loss from the hands of Barangay Ginebra in an out of town game. After already making a move in acquiring Larry Fonancier earlier this season, the Road Warriors is set to acquire another veteran player in Cyrus Baguio.
Cyrus played for Yeng Guiao in the past and it looks like NLEX is not done in molding the team. The trade is set to involve a total of three teams with Mac Baracael from NLEX going to Global Port, Dylan Ababou from Global Port  to Phoenix with a 2020 second round draft pick and NLEX acquiring Cyrus Baguio.


Phoenix earlier acquired Jeff Chan from Rain or Shine.

This is yet to be verified but according to our sources it has already been confirmed by the league.

Who won the trade?

Phoenix Fuel Masters
Global Port Batang Pier
NLEX Road Warriors
All are winners

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PBA Highlights: McKay, Jazul Lead Phoenix and Won Against Global Port

Phoenix Fuel Masters’ Jameel McKay showed a monster 20-20 game while RJ Jazul’s unstoppable power shots rallied from a double-digit deficit to defeat the GlobalPort Batang Pier, 84-72, in the Oppo PBA Commissioner’s Cup Friday at SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
McKay scored 22 points and Jazul delivered 21 points to help the Phoenix increased to 4-5.
The Fuel Masters got the win without the star rookie Matthew Wright who is  also a part of Gilas Pilipinas and now training for the upcoming SEABA Championship next week.
Stanley Pringle of Global Port scored 25 points built with 9 rebounds and 6 assists, but Global Port fell back to 2-6 as it also missed the presence of Terrence Romeo who, like Wright, is currently in training with the national team.
Phoenix was at a 15-point deficit after the first half, but managed to take the lead after the third quarter 57-55, behind the power hands of McKay who scored 13 in the period.
The Fuel Masters extended their lead in the last quarter. Jazul then made huge baskets to dominate GlobalPort and win the game.

The scores:

PHOENIX 84 – McKay 22, Jazul 21, Baguio 8, Lanete 6, Eriobu 6, Torres 5, Borboran 4, Alolino 4, Dehesa 4, Kramer 2, W. Wilson 2, Intal 0, J. Wilson 0.

GLOBALPORT 72 – Pringle 25, White 16, Cortez 12, Aban 7, Quinahan 4, Forrester 3, Pessumal 3, Mamaril 2, Maierhofer 0, Ababou 0, Urbiztondo 0.

Quarterscores: 14-28, 27-36, 57-55, 84-72.
 

(courtesy: youtube/Sports5)

Phoenix swaps Fortuna for GlobalPort’s Draft Pick

The Phoenix Fuel Masters has made their first move in their first conference as a PBA team. The Fuel Masters sent Jeric Fortuna to the Batang Pier in exchange for a future draft pick. The said pick is a 2018 second rounder. The Fuel Masters needed to unload Fortuna because of their crowded backcourt players led by RR Garcia, Josh Urbiztondo, Chico Lanete and Emman Monfort. 

Fortuna will be reunited to his college coach in UST, coach Pido Jarencio. The Batang Pier boosts their point guard position which they were lacking with Stanley Pringle and Terrence Romeo at their backcourt. The two are both combo guards, while Fortuna is a pure point guard.