Matthew Wright sizzled for 36 points as Phoenix Super LPG gave interim coach Topex Robinson a winning start in convincing fashion by routing Meralco 116-98 in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center.
Wright was 11-of-23 from the field including four triples and added six assists in almost 38 minutes as the Fuel Masters prevailed despite missing Calvin Abueva who has yet to complete the requirements in order for the Games and Amusements Board to reinstate his pro license.
Abueva, who remains suspended by the league, is scheduled to attend a third and final seminar on Wednesday evening before GAB gets his license back.
If Abueva’s license is re-issued, he will only need a decision from PBA commissioner Willie Marcial to lift the indefinite suspension slapped in June 2019.
Jason Perkins had 17 points, nine rebounds and five assists even as Justin Chua scored the same amount of points for Phoenix which led by a high of 29 points at the end of the third 92-63.
Backup point guard RR Garcia came off the bench to finish with 14 points and four assists for the Fuel Masters.
Robinson won in his first game in charge after Phoenix decided last month to part ways with Louie Alas, who steered the Fuel Masters to a breakthrough semifinal appearance in last year’s Philippine Cup.
It was a frustrating bubble debut for Meralco as it played sans Raymond Almazan and its main players Chris Newsome and Baser Amer only combining for 19 points.
Old reliable Reynel Hugnatan topscored with 16 points for the Bolts.
Wright’s 14 points in the third period prompted Phoenix to balloon its lead after taking a 53-41 halftime lead.
PHOENIX 116 — Wright 36, Perkins 17, Chua 17, Garcia 14, Intal 7, Napoles 6, Jazul 5, Marcelo 4, Rios 4, Heruela 3, Reyes 3, Gamboa 0.
MERALCO 98 — Hugnatan 16, Newsome 12, Quinto 11, Maliksi 11, Salva 10, Hodge 9, Jose 8, Amer 7, Black 6, Pinto 4, Faundo 2, Caram 2, Jackson 0.
Quarters: 25-21, 53-41, 92-63, 116-98.