Phoenix guns for share of lead v revitalized Star Hotshots

Phoenix looks to grab a share of the leadership when it clashes with Star in the lone game for the Petron Saturday Special of the PBA Philippine Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The Fuel Masters have been on a roll since dropping a 7-point decision against Blackwater Elite two weeks ago, pulling off a stunning 92-85 upset over defending champion San Miguel Beer, before building a 30-point lead and then coasting to a 114-104 win against winless Mahindra last week.

Now mentored by Ariel Vanguardia, Phoenix can grab a share of the lead with idle Rain or Shine (3-1) with a win in their 5 p.m. match versus Star.

But collecting a third straight win though won’t be easy for the Fuel Masters, who’ll be up against a Hotshots side that finally got their first victory last Wednesday after opening the season with back-to-back losses.

Paul Lee had a breakout game in his new team, firing 20 points built around 4 triples as Star roared ahead, 99-75 against NLEX. The six-foot Lee also had the last laugh in his first meeting with his former coach Yeng Guiao, who now handles NLEX.

Supporting Lee was rookie Jio Jalalon, who finished with 17 markers as the freshman out of Arellano is expected to play big minutes once more.

Victolero though refused to be carried away by their 24-point win, citing the importance of trusting the new system he has injected in the team.

“Dadaan lang talaga kami sa proseso kasi new system and new coach,” Victolero said.