Fuel Masters pull it off

Olmin Leyba - The Philippine Star
Fuel Masters pull it off
Phoenix's Jason Perkins (left)
PBA Images

MANILA, Philippines — Without a prolific all-around player like former import Johnathan Williams in its arsenal, Phoenix has to do things by committee in the PBA Philippine Cup.

And that’s exactly how the Fuel Masters went about their business in dispatching no-quit Converge, 113-107, and getting back on track last night at the PhilSports Arena.

Jason Perkins led a line of heroes who joined hands in getting Phoenix out of a two-game skid and improving to 2-4 with his 26-point and 13-rebound effort.

Rookie Ricci Rivero shot a season-high 17, including 12 in the third that enabled them to seize an 86-73 upperhand, while batchmate Ken Tuffin had 16, making nine in the fourth that restored a 111-100 cushion after Converge cut their 18-point lead to three.

Javee Mocon (11), Matthew Daves (11) and Jayjay Alejandro (10) also delivered offensively as the Fuel Masters extended the FiberXers’ misery to a seventh match.

“When we lost our 18-point lead, we kept telling them to keep positive. We wanted them to know they’re one team and they had to work together,” said assistant coach Willie Wilson during the post-game presscon.

“Converge has a bunch of hardworking players and the only way to beat them is to beat them as a team,” he added.

Wilson admitted it’s been a struggle getting traction in the All-Filipino without Williams, the Best Import awardee who helped Phoenix reach the semis of the previous Commissioner’s Cup.

“The process is ongoing. Imagine having the Best Import playing almost 48 minutes per night and then you got to fill those 48 minutes with guys that weren’t getting a ton of minutes,” said Wilson.

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