Eugene Phelps exploded anew fueling Phoenix to a 106-93 win over the fading Star Friday in the 2016 PBA Governors Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Phelps scattered 45 points including big baskets in the fourth quarter that quell the Hotshots’ rally from 20 points down.
With the game hanging in the balance as Star came within two, 86-84, Phelps joined forces with Cyrus Baguio and Simon Enciso to re-establish a double digit lead heading into the homestretch.
Phelps added 17 rebounds, three assists and two shot blocks while getting major lift from Phoenix locals.
“Even though we’re up by 20, we’re still scared because they are cpaable of coming back,” Phoenix coach Ariel Vanguardia said.
“Good thing in the fourth quarter we buckled down to work and made crucial stops and we hit shots. Every time they double or triple teamed Eugene, but good thing, Simon hit one and Cyrus made couple of shots also,” he added.
Veterans Willy Wilson, Baguio and Ronjay Buenafe came up big with 13, 11 and 11, in that order, while Enciso’s lone field goal – a three-pointer – in the fourth gave them the much needed separation to fend off the Hotshots’ comeback bid.
The win pushed Phoenix to .500 with a 4-4 slate with a shot at a top four finish that will give them a twice-to-beat incentive in the quarterfinals.
Star, meanwhile, sank deeper in the cellar with its fifth straight loss to drop to a tie at 1-7 with Blackwater.
The Hotshots are now in their longest losing streak overall in franchise history in nine years and the longest within a conference in 11 years.
Joel Wright scored 29 points and grabbed 11 rebounds before fouling out while only Mark Barroca and PJ Simon reaching in double figures for the locals with 12 and 11, respectively.