The Phoenix Fuel Masters and the NLEX Road Warriors opened their respective campaigns on a high note as the season-ending PBA Governors’ Cup tipped off on Wednesday at SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
Phoenix thumped Kia Picanto, 118-105, in the curtain-raiser while NLEX nipped the Alaska Aces, 112-104, in the nightcap of the opening day doubleheader.
Comebacking import Eugene Phelps displayed his scoring prowess anew, scoring 33 points and 14 boards to lead the Fuel Masters who notched the victory even without their top gunner Matthew Wright.
Wright is currently loaned by Gilas Pilipinas that is seeing action in the William Jones Cup in Taiwan.
But the Rookie of the Year frontrunner’s absence didn’t matter for Phoenix as it also got big boosts from JC Intal (19 points, seven rebounds), RJ Jazul (18 points), Joseph Eriobu (12 points) and Cyrus Baguio (11 points).
Sporting another team name, Kia failed to erase Phoenix’ deficit for the entire game. The Picanto got 31 points and 10 rebounds from Markeith Cummings who last played for GlobalPort four years ago.
Meanwhile, things are looking bright for NLEX after a victorious campaign opener.
The Road Warriors, who have struggled in the first two conferences, dropped late 11-4 bomb to break a 94-all deadlock against the Aces in their closely fought game.
NLEX import Aaron Fuller impressed in his PBA debut, scoring 30 points and 20 rebounds. Kevin Alas also made 20 points, eight rebounds and four assists.