MANILA, Philippines – Phoenix snapped a 3-game slide after pulling off a pulsating 78-76 escape over Alaska in the 2019 PBA Commissioner's Cup at the Araneta Coliseum on Saturday, June 15.
Richard Howell delivered a monster double-double of 24 points and 29 rebounds, while Justin Chua hit the biggest buckets down the stretch as the Fuel Masters halted the Aces' three-game winning streak to improve to 2-3.
Chua, who put up 10 points and 6 rebounds, buried a baseline jumper to give Phoenix a 76-72 lead Alaska before converting the go-ahead lay up with less than 10 seconds remaining that settled the score.
Alaska had plenty of time to either forge overtime or drain a game-winning 3-pointer only to witness Kevin Racal's triple hit nothing but the side of the backboard as the time expired.
Alex Mallari also starred for the Fuel Masters by scattering 10 of his 15 points in the final frame, while Matthew Wright chalked up 14 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists in the low-scoring affair.
Chris Banchero put up 18 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists for Alaska, which slipped to 4-2, while Vic Manuel added 10 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 steals.
Nino Johnson, who replaced Chris Daniels as Aces import, had a ho-hum performance with 6 points, 5 steals, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 blocks.
Phoenix 78 - Howell 24, Mallari 15, Wright 14, Chua 10, Intal 6, Revilla 6, Perkins 2, Jazul 1, Kramer 0, Marcelo 0, Wilson 0, Dennison 0.
Alaska 76 - Banchero 18, Manuel 10, Thoss 8, Racal 8 Teng 6, Johnson 6, Casio 6, Cruz 6, Pascual 2, Enciso 2, Exciminiano 2, Ayaay 2, Galliguez 0.
Quarters: 16-12, 35-30, 52-50, 78-76.
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.