PBA Governors' Cup

Wright, Phoenix tarnish perfect NLEX record to kick off PBA Christmas slate

Delfin Dioquino
Wright, Phoenix tarnish perfect NLEX record to kick off PBA Christmas slate

BACK ON TRACK. Matthew Wright and Phoenix bounce back from two straight losses.

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Despite missing injured import Paul Harris for almost the entire game, Phoenix hands NLEX its first loss in the PBA Governors' Cup after a sterling 4-0 start

MANILA, Philippines – Phoenix turned into the Grinch on Christmas Day as it snapped the unbeaten streak of NLEX in the PBA Governors’ Cup with a 102-93 win at the Araneta Coliseum on Saturday, December 25.

Star Matthew Wright delivered a game-high 23 points to go with 9 rebounds and 4 assists to help the Fuel Masters bounce back from two straight losses and hand the Road Warriors their first loss after a sterling 4-0 start.

NLEX narrowed the gap to 91-97 off a Calvin Oftana triple, but Phoenix answered with 5 straight points in the final minute en route to the win as Wright sealed the victory with a booming three-pointer.

Wright pulled up from long distance with seven ticks remaining over JR Quiñahan and blew a kiss to the crowd as he wrapped up the first Christmas Day game since 2017.

Justin Chua played his finest game of the conference with 19 points and 6 rebounds off the bench, a timely resurgence as the Fuel Masters badly missed the presence of injured import Paul Harris.

Harris saw action for only under three minutes and put up 2 points, 1 rebound, and 1 assist.

Chris Banchero dazzled in the win with 17 points, 5 steals, and 4 rebounds, Aljun Melecio had 12 points and 2 steals, while Jason Perkins delivered 10 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists.

RJ Jazul put up 8 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists as he set the tone for Phoenix in the first quarter, which saw his side seize a 26-18 advantage.

Calvin Oftana shone on both ends of the floor with 18 points, 11 rebounds, 3 steals, and 2 blocks, but the Road Warriors just did not have enough firepower to extend their perfect star as the Fuel Masters clamped down on import KJ McDaniels.

Averaging 33.5 points in their first four games, McDaniels was limited to just 12 points on 4-of-15 shooting to go with 10 rebounds.

The Scores

Phoenix 102 – Wright 23, Chua 19, Banchero 17, Melecio 12, Perkins 10, Jazul 8, Demusis 4, Manganti 2, Harris 2, Garcia 2, Rios 2, Camacho 1, Muyang 0.

NLEX 93 – Oftana 18, Trollano 16, McDaniels 12, Alas 11, Varilla 10, Rosales 8, Paniamogan 8, Quiñahan 6, Cruz 4, Semerad 0.

Quarters: 26-18, 49-43, 72-67, 102-93.

– Rappler.com

Delfin Dioquino

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.