Phoenix turns back Columbian in Abueva’s debut
Calvin Abueva is off to a strong start with his new club as Phoenix held off Columbian, 113-107, in the 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Fuel Masters also opened the conference at 1-0 while the Dyip remained winless in their first two games.
The Beast immediately displayed his trademark hustle for the Fuel Masters. He came up with a clutch block on Jerramy King with less than a minute remaining and notched a crucial free throw after his second offensive board to give them a 110-107 lead with 24.5 seconds left.
Phoenix head coach Louie Alas rued his team’s third quarter wherein Columbian outscored the Fuel Masters 37-28 to get to within five points, 84-79, heading into the fourth.
Fortunately for the Fuel Masters, Abueva ran rampant in the fourth quarter to preserve Phoenix’ lead.
“Defensively we don’t have that toughness because we gave up 37 points, not to discount Kia [Columbian],” said Alas. “Good thing we had a huge game from Eugene [Phelps] and of course Calvin being Calvin that’s why we pushed for his trade because we need that extra energy.”
Phelps finished with 50 points, his third 50-point game in a conference opening game for his team, and 17 rebounds while Abueva had 12 points, 13 rebounds, five assists, and three blocks.
Columbian had a chance to tie the game after Abueva’s free throw but Rashawn McCarthy turned the ball over with Jason Perkins picking his pass off with 17.4 seconds left.
Perkins missed his two free throws but Phelps managed to gain extra possession and dished it to Matthew Wright who split his chances from the line to give Phoenix a 111-107 bubble with12 seconds remaining.
Abueva, who played his first six years with Alaska in the PBA, was dealt to the Fuel Masters after getting suspended indefinitely from the Aces due to unexplained absences.
King topped the Dyip with 27 points with six boards while Akeem Wright had 25 points, 14 boards, and six assists.
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