Five players scored in double figures for Phoenix as they turned back an upset-minded Columbian, 108-98, to zoom to a 3-0 start in the PBA Philippine Cup on Wednesday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Fuel Masters controlled the tempo for most of the first half after speeding to a 12-0 start, and even erected a 46-31 lead after a layup by Doug Kramer put them there with about three minutes to go in the second quarter.
The Dyip, though, chipped away and trailed by just five, 48-43 with over a minute left in the first half.
A strong third quarter behind Matthew Wright kept them at bay for a bit, but a persistent Columbian side continued to threaten in the early goings of the payoff period after a bucket from rookie JP Calvo brought them to within five, 82-77.
That was the last time they came within a striking distance as a stifling defense and a steady offensive performance in the fourth helped Phoenix post its best start in its young history.
Wright led all scorers with 22 points, while Calvin Abueva added 16 poins, nine rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Jason Perkins chipped in a 14-point, 11 rebound double-double, while JC Intal and LA Revilla added 13 and 12, respectively, for the unbeaten Fuel Masters.
The Dyip, on the other hand, were paced by Calvo’s 18 points. CJ Perez had a relatively quiet outing after putting up 10 points on 3-for-11 shooting, eight rebounds, six assists, two steals and two blocks.
Columbian fell to 1-1 after upsetting San Miguel in its first contest of the Philippine Cup.
Phoenix 108 – Wright 22, Abueva 16, Perkins 14, Intal 13, Revilla 12, Kramer 8, Marcelo 7, Jazul 6, Chua 4, Mendoza 2, Napoles 2, Dennison 2, Mallari 0.
Columbian 98 – Calvo 18, Camson 13, Corpuz 13, McCarthy 10, Perez 10, Reyes 9, Celda 9, Escoto 8, Khobuntin 6, Agovida 2, Cahilig 0, Cabrera 0, Tabi 0.
Quarters: 24-14, 53-47, 82-72, 108-98.
(Photo credit: PBA Media Group)