RJ Jazul keyed in two important baskets in the dying seconds, lifting the Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters to a 104-99 triumph over the Alaska Aces in the Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup on Thursday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The 5’11” Jazul tallied 21 points and found two big scoring opportunities in the final minute that allowed the Fuel Masters to bounce back from three straight losses.
Jazul struck with a layup off new import Du’Vaughn Maxwell’s assist with 54 ticks left, handing the Fuel Masters a four-point cushion at 101-97.
After Yousef Taha’s layup kept the Aces within range at 99-101, Maxwell put the Fuel Masters in front by four again following his driving shot with 20 ticks to go, 103-99.
The Aces still had winning chances, but a turnover by Michael Digregorio allowed Jazul to go for a steal, leading to a split charity off Robert Herndon’s foul for the final tally in the 10-second mark.
“We just stuck together. If we play offense on this team, it’s going to be hard to win,” said Fuel Masters’ coach Topex Robinson.
Jason Perkins finished with a game-high 22 points for the Fuel Masters, who finally earned the upperhand for good, following seven lead changes. Perkins’ triple with 5:22 left gave the Fuel Masters a 95-93 lead.
Maxwell, who recently left Ukranian club team SK Cherkasy Monkeys to replace injured Dominique Sutton, impressed Robinson.
The 6’7” Maxwell drilled in 21 points, making six in the last period, with his layup in the final 3:41 capping a short 5-0 rally that allowed the Fuel Masters to overcome a 92-93 deficit.
Olusegi Ashaolu banged in 24 points for the Aces, who are in solo fourth with their 6-4 slate. He knocked in seven points in the fourth and capped a 13-0 rally that gave the Aces their last taste of the lead at 93-92 with his one-handed attempt in the final 5:38.