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McKay drops league-high 42 points as Phoenix nips Alaska

Jameel McKay of Phoenix posts up against Alaska defenders in their 2017 PBA Commissioner's Cup game at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Friday. | PBA Images

Games Friday (MOA Arena)

3 p.m. – Blackwater vs Star

5:15 p.m. – San Miguel vs Rain or Shine

MANILA, Philippines – Jameel McKay poured in a PBA high of 42 points in a hyperactive performance before going down with cramps with 1:22 left to play as Phoenix Petroleum clobbered a crippled Alaska Milk side, 94-86, to pump life on its playoff hopes in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Friday night.

McKay also hauled down 22 rebounds in delivering only the second 40-point and 20-rebound game in the tourney backed by clutch efforts of former Aces Cyrus Baguio and RJ Jazul as Phoenix pulled a first win over Alaska.

Redeeming itself from a sorry loss to Rain or Shine the last time out, Phoenix closed in on joint fifth placers Alaska (4-2), Star (4-2) and ROS (4-2) with a third win against four losses.

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McKay, Baguio and Jazul all responded to the challenge of their coach on the eve of the match.

“I showed Jameel a write-up where he’s not included among the Top Five best imports in the tourney. Maybe because we’re not winning games,” said Phoenix coach Ariel Vanguardia.

“I met with him along with Cyrus and RJ Wednesday. But it was really about Cyrus and RJ. I reminded them, ‘yes, Alaska is your team before but you’re with us now,’” Vanguardia also said. “They’re too nice. We’re actually too nice. I asked them ‘let’s be physical with them. Let’s match their physicality.’”

McKay came out extra hard, even enduring cramps until he went down to the floor unable to move anymore.

“He was cramping with eight minutes left to play. But he continued to play as he really wanted to win,” said Vanguardia of McKay, the second player to record a 40-point and 20-rebound game after Eugene Phelps piled up 53 markers and 21 boards in Phoenix’s first game in the tourney.

Baguio and Jazul stepped up at the right moment, helping the Fuel Masters to a first win over the Aces in four head-on matches.

TNT KaTropa is the lone remaining team Phoenix hasn’t beat since the latter took over the Barako Bull franchise last year.

The Aces just had a hard time matching the energy and intensity of the Fuel Masters minus Calvin Abueva, Vic Manuel, Chris Banchero and Noy Baclao.

Abueva sat down the game as he’s nursing a cut on the lips sustained in training with Gilas Pilipinas.

As McKay was helped to the bench, Jazul took over and personally clinched their win with an assist on Doug Kramer and a looping shot that made it 92-84 with 46.9 seconds to go.

McKay was hit by cramps as he played hard all throughout, outclassing Alaska’s Cory Jefferson who made only 31 points and 13 rebounds.

The Phoenix import dominated on both ends of the floor, executing an array of slams to spike his 42-point output.

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