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Phoenix plays Grinch this Christmas, deals NLEX 1st loss

Matthew Wright stepped up in Paul Harris' absence. PBA Images
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--On a night when everyone is in a festive mood, Phoenix gave NLEX something to frown about.

All it took for the Road Warriors to suffer their first defeat in the PBA Governors' Cup was a Christmas night showdown against the Fuel Masters as the latter bounced back from consecutive losses with a 102-93 win at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

Despite losing Paul Harris early on, Phoenix clipped NLEX in the first quarter, holding them to just 18 points while taking an eight-point lead to the second quarter.

The Road Warriors kept in step with the Fuel Masters for most of the last three quarters, but a five-point swing midway through the fourth period completely swung the control of the game to the latter as the former was eventually relegated to exchanging baskets in the end.

Matthew Wright led Phoenix, which moved up to a tie with Alaska for fifth place at 3-2, with 23 points, nine rebounds, and four assists.

Justin Chua added 19 points, six rebounds, and one steal off the bench.

Calvin Oftana put up 18 points, 11 rebounds, one assist, three steals, and two blocks for NLEX, which saw its 4-0 start to the conference snapped.

KJ McDaniels was held to only 12 points on 4-of-15 field goals and 3-of-8 free throws, but he too had 10 rebounds, two assists, and one block.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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