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Phoenix thrashes NLEX behind Phelps’ 51 points, 20 boards

Eugene Phelps went berserk anew in Phoenix Fuel's win over NLEX. PBA Media Bureau

By Ricky Manliguis

PASAY—Eugene Phelps is known for his bulldozing drives, strong finishes, and mid-range baskets. But tonight, he added another asset to his vast arsenal: three-point shooting.

Phelps exploded for 51 points as streaking Phoenix Fuel thwarted NLEX, 123-97, in the first game of Wednesday’s PBA Governors’ Cup action at the Cuneta Astrodome.

The Fuel Masters went wild right from the opening tip, leading by as many as 41 points to improve to a 6-2 record and on course to a coveted twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals.

It was also a perfect birthday gift to coach Louie Alas, who celebrated his 55th birthday.

The 6-foot-3 Phelps also finished with 20 rebounds on 21-of-31 shooting from the field. He also hit 3-of-5 from the three point area, something rarely done by "El Destructor." 

Phelps had 28 points in the first half alone as Phoenix cruised to an early 71-33 halftime lead and kept the Road Warriors at bay the rest of the way.

Calvin Abueva added added 17 points and seven rebounds, while Matthew Wright had 10 for Phoenix, which also bounced back from a painful 99-101 loss to Barangay Ginebra in Cagayan De Oro City.

“Big bounce-back game kasi ‘yung talo namin sa Ginebra one-possession game lang,” said Alas at post-game.

“We're back and I like our situation."

NLEX suffered its second straight loss to fall to 4-3. Aaron Fuller topscored with 38 points, while Bong Galanza and Larry Fonacier were the only locals in double figures with 13 and 10, respectively.

The scores:

Phoenix 123 - Phelps 51, Abueva 17, Wright 10, Perkins 9, Wilson 8, Intal 7, Revilla 5, Jazul 3, Guevarra 3, Mendoza 3, Eriobu 3, Chua 2, Gamboa 2, Alolino 0, Kramer 0.

NLEX 97 - Fuller 38, Galanza 13, Fonacier 10, Tiongson 6, Monfort 5, Ighalo 4, Quinahan 4, Marcelo 3, Baguio 3, Rios 3, Miranda 3, Tallo 3, Soyud 2, Paniamogan 0, Taulava 0.

Quarters: 34-18, 71-33, 94-67, 123-97.

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