(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
4:30 p.m. – Rain or Shine vs Mahindra
6:45 p.m. – Meralco vs NLEX
Eugene Phelps wrecked havoc in his return for a short stay to the country, scoring a career-high 53 points and grabbed 21 rebounds in leading Phoenix to a 118-116 double overtime victory over Blackwater yesterday in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome.
Phelps showed why he was nicknamed “El Destructor,” flashing the dominating form he shown in last season’s Governors’ Cup by making key baskets in the two extra sessions coupled with a defensive stop on the game’s last play to secure the victory.
Phoenix nearly ended up as the loser after Phelps missed two foul shots while leading by two points. But Phelps rose to the occasion by partially blocking the three-point attempt of Roi Sumang on the game’s final play.
“We know what Eugene can give us. He’s not ‘El Destructor’ for nothing,” said Phoenix coach Ariel Vanguardia of Phelps, who is set to leave the country before the end of the next week to play for a team in Puerto Rico.
The 6-foot-6 Phelps is in town while Phoenix awaits the arrival of its permanent import.
The Fuel Masters were supposed to have Jarrid Famous to reinforce the squad, but issues concerning his availability prompted the team to temporarily tap Phelps, who was coming off a stint in Taiwan.
And Phelps didn’t disappoint in his second coming.
JC Intal had 11 points while Cyrus Baguio and Willie Wilson added 10 points apiece for the Fuel Masters, who played minus rookie guard Matthew Wright because of an ankle injury.
Former NBA player Greg Smith finished with 37 points and 30 rebounds but Blackwater couldn’t come away with the win.
Meanwhile, defending champion Rain or Shine and Meralco seek a follow-up of their opening day victories and forge a share of the early lead today at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Rain or Shine battles Mahindra in the first game at 4:30 p.m. while Meralco takes on sister team NLEX in the 6:45 p.m. nightcap as the two squads aim to boost their bids to bounce back from disappointing campaigns in the Philippine Cup.
The Elasto Painters won their opening assignment at the expense of their former coach Yeng Guiao and the Road Warriors, leaning on a virtuoso performance by James Yap to eke out a 113-105 victory.
That result came after the Bolts got big contributions from import Alex Stepheson and the locals led by Baser Amer to post a 94-86 win over the Floodbuster.
PHOENIX 118 – Phelps 53, Intal 11, Baguio 10, W. Wilson 10, Alolino 9, Jazul 8, Borboran 8, J. Wilson 3, Lanete 2, Miranda 2, Kramer 2, Dehesa 0, Eriobu 0.
BLACKWATER 116 – Smith 37, Belo 21, Digregorio 13, Sumang 11, Pascual 8, Sena 7, Gamalinda 7, Miranda 6, Ababou 3, Forrester 0, Pinto 0, Cervantes 0, Aguilar 0.
Quarters: 18-18; 38-45; 76-75; 100-100 (Reg); 110-110 (1OT); 118-116 (2OT).