(Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)
Justin Chua leads a balanced attack by the Fuel Masters.
The Phoenix Fuel Masters entered the league's 43rd season with lots of confidence owing to the fact that they have one of the talented young rosters in the PBA today. They have sharpshooter Matthew Wright who is also one of the vital pieces in the national team. They also have JC Intal who can provide the leadership because of his experience and longevity in the league. But most importantly, they have Jason Perkins, a super rookie who can bang his body with some of the elite big men in the league. And, they have a new coach in Louie Alas.
After faltering in their first assignment to open the Philippine Cup, Phoenix bounced back, big time. They overwhelmed the still winless, Kia Picanto, 125-102. And nobody from the Fuel Masters has scored above 15 points. So just imagine the damage if Perkins and company exploded for more. Scary, isn't it?
What happened in the game? Below are the numbers:
125 Points and a Balanced Attack
Sure, scoring 125 points is big for a team such as Phoenix but the beauty of it is that nobody has to force himself to score more because of the fact that they had 8 guys who scored in double figures:
- Justin Chua- 15 points
- Matthew Wright- 15 points
- JC Intal- 15 points
- RJ Jazul- 13 points
- Gelo Alonino- 13 points
- Jason Perkins- 12 points
- Doug Kramer- 12 points
- Joseph Eriobu- 11 points
Firing on All Cylinders
Phoenix shot 55% from the field including a 56% shooting from the three-point line. They had help from everyone as evident by the 72 points that the bench players of Louie Alas have accumulated. While doing that, the Fuel Masters also limited the Picanto to only 44% field goal shooting which included a horrible 34% from rainbow distance. The only area that Kia was able to outperform Phoenix was at the free throw line where Kia shot 95% compared to Phoenix who only made 55% of their free throws.
Rebounds and Second-Chance Points
Rebounds and second-chance points were two departments where the Fuel Masters had dominated all throughout the game. They had a 53-39 edge on the boards, including a 17-9 advantage on the offensive rebounds. That dominance on the offensive rebounds allowed Phoenix to subsequently get 19 second-chance points while Kia could only manage 6 points off their missed opportunities.
Now that Phoenix has rebounded from their opening day defeat, this will help in terms of allowing the team to build a sense of confidence that yes, despite being a young team with a new coach, they can play against the elite teams in the league and yes, they can beat teams at any given day.
For Kia, they have fallen to 0-2. However, the conference is still in its early stage and they can definitely get better. They just need to act quickly.