The Phoenix Fuel Masters made a triumphant debut in the pro-league as they tripped the NLEX Road Warriors, 118-106, yesterday in the 41st PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.
Coming back from a shoulder injury, RR Garcia fired a career-high 33 points to lead Phoenix, which became the league’s newest member after taking over the Barako Bull franchise.
Garcia, who had to sit out their last four games in the Philippine Cup, scored 19 points in the third period where he went five-for-five from the three-point area, allowing the Fuel Masters to take an 84-76 lead with one quarter left to play.
Overall, Garcia went 13-of-19 from the field.
Garcia also made his presence felt when the Road Warriors threatened within 100-104, scoring six of his total output in crucial endgame Phoenix run.
“We missed RR, we missed that kind of spunk, down the stretch last conference,” said Phoenix coach Koy Banal in a pba.inquirer.net report.
Phoenix import Andrew Adeleke also made a good account of himself by piling up 18 points and 20 rebounds.
That solid double-double game atoned Adeleke’s horrendous two-for-10 shooting from the free throw line.
JC Intal and Mac Baracael chipped in 17 and 15 markers, respectively.
The Road Warriors stumbled after starting the tournament with a 114-112 overtime win over the Barangay Ginebra Kings.
Al Thornton scored 50 points in that win but settled for just 27 points against Phoenix.
Sean Anthony added 19 points and 12 rebounds for the Road Warriors, Asi Taulava delivered 18, while Jonas Villanueva wound up with 16 markers.
PHOENIX (118) – Garcia 33, Adeleke 18, Intal 17, Baracael 15, Brondial 8, Pennisi 8, Urbiztondo 6, Wilson 6, Lanete 5, Fortuna 2, Monfort 0.
NLEX (106) – Thornton 27, Anthony 19, Taulava 18, Villanueva J. 16, Wilson 7, Borboran 5, Alas 3, Rios 3, Enciso 2, Khobuntin 2, Lanete 2, Villanueva E. 2, Reyes 0.QUARTERSCORES: 21-24, 50-47, 84-76, 118-106.
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