Phoenix sends Ginebra crashing to its 3rd straight defeat

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Phoenix's Jeff Chan lays up as teammate Willie Wilson boxes out Ginebra's Jervy Cruz in the PBA Philippine Cup game between the Fuel Masters and the Kings on Friday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

By JAY R. GOTERA
MANILA — The Phoenix Fuel Masters took advantage of a crippled Barangay Ginebra Kings’ frontcourt to hack out an 87-82 victory in the PBA Philippine Cup on Friday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
With Ginebra’s Greg Slaughter still unable to play due to a strained hamstring, the Fuel Masters found loopholes in the Kings’ defense, allowing them to erect a 24-point lead late in the third quarter before weathering a fierce Kings’ comeback bid in the endgame that was too late in coming.
Phoenix thus snapped a two-game losing streak to improve to a 3-3 win-loss card while handling Ginebra its third straight loss after starting the conference at 2-0, and pushing the Kings down into a tie for seventh to 10th place in the standings in the company of Meralco, GlobalPort, and Blackwater.
Jeff Chan, Willy Wilson, and Matthew Wright scored 19 points apiece to lead Phoenix. Rookie Jason Perkins added 12 points.
Aside from Slaughter, Ginebra still badly missed the inside presence of Joe Devance, another key player in sickbay. Art dela Cruz also has not played yet for Ginebra since he was traded by Blackwater to the Kings middle of last year due to a recurring foot injury.
The Kings struggled all night long against the Fuel Masters, trailing by 24 points, 75-51, late in the third. However, they finally came to life in the fourth, igniting an18-6 run in the final 6:33 to cut Phoenix’s lead down to three points, 85-82, with seconds remaining. Two free throws by Chan, however, sealed the win for Phoenix.
Ginebra outscored Phoenix, 29-12, in the fourth quarter, but that was not enough to turn the tables on the Fuel Masters.
Scottie Thompson led Ginebra with 22 points and 13 rebounds. Japeth Aguilar finished with 21 points while Kevin Ferrer and LA Tenorio added 11 and 10, respectively, in a losing effort.
Rain or Shine 97, NLEX 86
Bouncing back from a humiliating defeat at the hands of tail-ender Kia Picanto last Saturday, the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters blasted the NLEX Road Warriors, 97-86, to notch their third win in six games.
NLEX absorbed a fourth straight loss after starting the conference with two straight wins.
The Painters dominated the game for most parts, pulling away in the third quarter with a 22-4 run before coasting to victory.
Maverick Ahanmisi played his best game yet for ROS this conference, finishing with a team-high 20 points, all scored in the first three quarters. He scored nine of his points in the third quarter when the Painters erected their biggest lead at 21 points, 59-38. The U.S.-born Filipino-Nigerian point guard also had eight rebounds and three assists in 32 minutes of action.
Gabe Norwood added 13 points, nine boards, three steals, and two assists with zero turnover in over 31 minutes of play. James Yap and Chris Tiu chipped in 12 and 11 markers, respectively.
The Painters won despite shooting just 39.6 percent (36-of-91) from the field. However, they made up for this with their stifling defense that resulted in 22 NLEX turnovers.
JR Quiñahan led the Road Warriors with 22 points and six rebounds while Alex Mallari added 17 points and nine boards.
Games on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018: Blackwater Elite (2-3) vs. Alaska Aces (3-2) and Magnolia Hotshots (4-1) vs. TNT KaTropa Texters (3-2)

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