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PBA PH Cup: Fuel Masters end two-game slump, thrash Aces behind hot Manuel

Vic Manuel put up his best performance as a Fuel Master against his former team. PBA Images
By Ricky Manliguis

MANILA—Phoenix Super LPG snapped its two-game losing skid in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup by beating Alaska, 101-93, Saturday night at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.

Vic Manuel muscled his way to 26 points and 12 rebounds against his former team while leading a second-quarter breakaway enough to get its first win after back-to-back losses. 

The win somehow eased the pain for the boys of coach Topex Robinson, who are coming off a 115-79 loss at the hands of NorthPort, and played without guards Matthew Wright and Chris Banchero due to injuries.    

After scoring just 18 points in the first quarter, the Fuel Masters went on to work in the second and third quarters, even going to as high as 84-61 going into the final quarter. 

But Alaska went back to life in the fourth, even trimming the lead to 85-93 on an Abu Tratter bucket with 1:23 left in the game. 

Manuel responded with a short stab, before rookie Aljun Melecio and RJ Jazul iced the game with six free throws for the final score. 

Jazul added to the Phoenix offensive with 19 points on 4-of-9 shooting from downtown, Melecio added 13, while Jason Perkins issued 12 with eight rebounds. Jake Pascual came off the bench for a 10-point output.   

“That’s huge. The guys stepped up. Wala nga si Matt. So what’s important is ‘yung tulong ng iba,” said Robinson at post-game. 

“That was a total team effort, the coaches did a good job of preparing us for the game.” 

Gab Banal paced Alaska, now at 1-2 after back-to-back setbacks, with 17 points, while Tratter and Robbie Herndon got 14 and 13, respectively. 

The Scores: 

PHOENIX SUPER LPG 101—Manuel 26, Jazul 19, Melecio 13, Perkins 12, Pascual 10, Rios 9, Garcia 5, Chua 7, Muyang 0, Demusis 0, Tamsi 0. 

ALASKA 93—Banal 17, Tratter 14, Herndon 13, Taha 9, DiGregorio 8, Teng 8, Adamos 7, Brondial 6, Ahanmisi 5, Casio 2, Stockton 2, Marcelino 0. 

Quarterscores: 18-26; 53-42; 84-61; 101-93.

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