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Phoenix soars in debut with rout of NLEX


By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY--The PBA's newest addition immediately made its existence felt.

Phoenix became successful in its league debut with a 118-106 victory over NLEX in a PBA Commissioner's Cup game at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday night.

The Fuel Masters, who inherited the entire Barako Bull Energy club following the completion of a franchise sale last month, pulled away for good in the second half to buck off a slow start even as the Road Warriors could only come to as close as six.

RR Garcia exploded with 33 points on 13-of-19 shooting along with two rebounds, six assists, and two steals, while Andrew Adeleke came close to a 20-20 after making 18 points and 20 rebounds along with one assist and two blocks for Phoenix, which had 24 assists compared to only 11 turnovers the entire game.

Al Thornton led NLEX, which failed to follow up its conference-opening win, with 27 points, seven rebounds, one assist, and one block.

Box Scores:

Phoenix 118-Garcia 33, Adeleke 18, Intal 17, Baracael 15, Brondial 8, Pennisi 8, Urbiztondo 6, Wilson 6, Lanete 5, Fortuna 2, Monfort 0

NLEX 106-Thorton 27, Anthony 19, Taulava 18, J. Villanueva 16, Wilson 7, Borboran 5, Alas 3, Rios 3, Enciso 2, Khobuntin 2, Lanete 2, E. Villanueva 2

Quarterscores: 21-24; 50-47; 84-76; 118-106

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno