By JONAS TERRADO
PHOENIX bounced back from a tough loss to Alaska by mauling a listless TNT KaTropa side, 112-82, to register its best four-game start in franchise history last night in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Rookie Jason Perkins scored 22 points, Matthew Wright had 16 and import Eugene Phelps posted 15 points and 11 rebounds as the Fuel Masters improved to 3-1 after taking command from the second quarter onward and deal the embattled KaTropa another lopsided defeat.
The win came two nights after the Fuel Masters fell short against the Alaska Aces, 108-97, and had expected another tough encounter against a TNT side that was expected to bounce back strong.
It turned out to be a cakewalk for Phoenix though.
“I expected the game to be close because of how explosive their lineup is,” said Phoenix coach Louie Alas. “It helped that Terrence Romeo didn’t play and we were able to neutralize their three-point shooting.”
Romeo sat out the match, reportedly due to an injury, which made it another nightmarish 48 minutes for TNT coach Nash Racela and company.
TNT fell to 1-4, its worst start since a similar record in the 1999 Commissioner’s Cup.
Seldom-used Alfrancis Tamsi emerged as the team’s top scorer with 14 points as the main guns were silent.
Import Stacy Davis shot 4-of-18 from the field for just 13 points while Jayson Castro, Roger Pogoy and Troy Rosario combined for just 14 points.
Phoenix led by a high of 41 points, 100-59, on Wright’s corner three with under eight minutes left in the fourth.
Meanwhile, San Miguel Beer begins its campaign minus injured star June Mar Fajardo when it faces NLEX today in the Petron Saturday Special doubleheader at the Big Dome.
Fajardo’s absence due to an injured right shin is expected to make the Beermen’s bid to start off the conference on a high note difficult in the 6:45 p.m. match opposite the 3-1 Road Warriors.
Magnolia eyes its second straight win in the 4:30 p.m. curtainraiser against winless NorthPort.
PHOENIX 112 – Perkins 22, Wright 16, Phelps 15, Jazul 13, Abueva 12, Eriobu 9, Chua 8, Revilla 6, Mendoza 6, Intal 3, Wilson 2, Gamboa 0.
TNT KATROPA 82 – Tamsi 14, Davis 13, Cruz 12, Garcia 11, Carey 8, Semerad 7, Pogoy 7, Rosario 5, Reyes 3, Castro 2, Golla 0, Paredes 0, Williams 0, Saitanan 0.
Quarters: 29-17; 61-31; 85-56; 112-82.