Williams provides spark for Phoenix

Olmin Leyba - The Philippine Star
Williams provides spark for Phoenix
Import Jonathan Williams slams it home for Phoenix.

MANILA, Philippines — With Jonathan Williams III as sparkplug, well-oiled Phoenix uncorked a telling 25-2 salvo bridging the last minute of the opening period and the first seven of the second canto.

This enabled the streaking Fuel Masters to storm way ahead of Terrafirma, never relinquishing control to cruise to a 103-84 romp and seize solo second in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup last night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Williams banged in 10 points in that decisive run en route to a game-high 29 that went with 13 rebounds, four assists, one steal and one block with a single turnover all game.

Riding on their import’s all-around performance, the Fuel Masters extended their winning streak to three and 4-1 overall behind idle Magnolia (4-0).

Coach Jamike Jarin’s spirited crew matched the franchise’s all-time best 4-1 start in conferences with imports, first achieved in the 2018 Governors’ Cup under then mentor Louie Alas with Eugene Phelps.

“We’re just playing really good, selfless basketball and one of the reasons is J3,” Jarin said, referring to Williams.

“He’s been playing very selflessly, he’s leading the team. Because of this, everybody’s contributing in their own little way – screening, rebounding, the stuff you don’t see on the stats sheet. It’s a collective effort defensively and offensively so we’re on a three-game winning streak.”

Skipper RJ Jazul contributed 13, most of which during Phoenix’ second-quarter breakaway, as Jason Perkins had 11.

Rookie Raffy Verano also stepped up with seven markers, highlighted by five straight points that handed Phoenix a 43-21 margin in the second, to offset the absence of Javee Mocon (under the weather) and Larry Muyang (family reasons).

Despite getting back import Thomas De Thaey (18), Juami Tiongson (10) and Kemark Cariño (nine) from injury or illness, the Dyip fell to back-to-back losses and 2-3 overall.

Notes: The PBA slapped NorthPort team manager Pido Jarencio with a stern warning and P20,000 fine for his verbal altercation with NLEX import Thomas Robinson at the tunnel last Wednesday. Commissioner Willie Marcial said a similar offense in the future would lead to stiffer sanctions. The league didn’t summon and penalize Robinson after he was released by the Road Warriors, who named a replacement in Stokley Chaffee Jr.

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