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Phelps drops 53 as Phoenix beats Blackwater in double OT thriller

PBA
By Ivan Saldajeno

PASAY—Eugene Phelps once again channeled his "El Destructor" self as Phoenix turned back Blackwater, 118-116, in a double overtime thriller to kick off Day 2 of the PBA Commissioner's Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome on Saturday.

Phelps dropped a PBA career-high 53 points to lead the way for the Fuel Masters, who got a sigh of relief in the endgame.

Phoenix went on a roll to start the fourth quarter, scoring nine straight points to go up, 85-75, with less than 10 minutes left in regulation.

But Blackwater went on a 13-2 run to lead, 88-87, with 5:44 left, and the game became tight from there.

The Fuel Masters would still lead, 96-92, with 1:48 left, but the Elite went on an 8-2 run to go up, 100-98, with 50.3 seconds left.

Phelps quickly tied the game, 100-all, with a layup with 49.3 seconds to go in regulation, but he missed the ensuing free throw off a foul that could have put Phoenix up.

He eventually made up for it by blocking Greg Smith's game-winning jumper before the regulation buzzer to send the game to overtime.

The game remained tight in the first extra time, and it once again boiled down to a defensive gem as Blackwater foiled an alley-oop attempt at the buzzer to force another five-minute period.

The Fuel Masters appeared to have broken through after taking a 118-113 lead with 40.3 seconds to go.

But Roi Sumang fired a triple with 21.4 seconds left to cut the lead to two.

Phelps left the door open for the Elite to steal the win as he missed two free throws with 12.3 seconds left, but with them out of timeouts, Sumang had to go the full length of the court and launch a trey before the horn sounded against Phelps' outstretched arms, which he airballed.

Phelps also tallied 21 rebounds, one assist, and five blocks.

JC Intal is the top local performer for Phoenix with 11 points, five rebounds, three assists, one steal, and one emphatic block.

RJ Jazul struggled in scoring in his first game as a Fuel Master, only finishing with eight points on 3-of-16 shooting and having four turnovers, but he also had five rebounds, six assists, and three steals.

Smith impressed in his PBA debut, leading the way for Blackwater with 37 points, 30 rebounds, two assists, and one steal.

Mac Belo, after a sluggish end to his Philippine Cup campaign, went blazing again with 21 points, eight rebounds, five assists, and one block.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno
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