PHOENIX stepped up just in time to turn back Mahindra, 114-99, snapping a three-game slide and listing a much-needed win in the 2016 Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup last night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Willie Wilson remained steady for Phoenix, carving a double-double of 21 points on 10-of-13 shooting and pulling down 10 rebounds to lead his squad on both ends, while Kevinn Pinkney topscored for the Fuel Masters with 23 markers and nine boards. RR Garcia had 22.
The win proved vital for Phoenix as it moved up the ladder and out of the cellar for a triple-tie with NLEX and Rain or Shine for spots 7 to 9, where they now hold similar 2-3 marks. Mahindra, meanwhile, dropped to 3-3, still good for fifth though.
Phoenix coach Koy Banal was happy with how his wards rose to the occasion.
“I’m happy the players were ready. They came out prepared,” said Banal. “It started on the defensive end and I’m happy everyone responded well. They were challenged and they responded well.”
A solid first-period barrage allowed the Fuel Masters to dictate the tempo of the game and grab early control.
And they never looked back.
Phoenix started out blazing, taking a double-digit lead right away, 34-23, at the end of the first quarter following a methodical start. It continued rolling in the second quarter, where it extended its lead at the half, taking a bigger 61-47 advantage following a buzzer-beating fadeaway jumper from Wilson to end the first 24 minutes of action.
The pounding continued in the second half as the Fuel Masters never took their foot off the gas pedal. By the end of the third, their lead stood at an insurmountable 20 points, 92-72.
Mahindra, which was never in the game, eventually succumbed.
It was total domination from Phoenix right from the get-go until the final horn. Its largest lead was 21, 102-82, with 5:30 remaining after a Wilson putback.
JC Intal added 16 points for Phoenix.
PHOENIX 114—Pinkney 23, Garcia 22, Wilson 21, Intal 16, Pennisi 10, Urbiztondo 7, Brondial 5, Lanete 5, Monfort 5, Baracael 0.
MAHINDRA 99—Gilchrist 21, Canaleta 18, Dehesa 14, Digregorio 8, Pascual 8, Ramos 7, Yee 7, Pinto 6, Jaime 4, Revilla 4, Guinto 2, Alvarez 0, Hubalde 0, Webb 0.
Quarters: 34-23, 61-47, 92-72, 114-99