Photo from PBA

Phoenix Super LPG bucked the early loss of import Paul Harris to an injury and ended the perfect start of NLEX in the PBA Governors’ Cup with a 102-93 victory in their Christmas Day match at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Justin Chua regained the form he had in the 2020 Philippine Cup bubble by posting 19 points and six rebounds to lead a slew of Fuel Masters who stepped up after Harris complained of a calf problem three minutes into the match.

Matthew Wright fired a conference-high 23 points despite a second straight 8-of-18 clip, Chris Banchero had 17 points, four rebounds and five steals while rookie guard Aljun Melecio had another solid outing with 12 points as Phoenix improved to 3-2.

The Fuel Masters snapped a two-game skid, including a heartbreaking 125-121 overtime loss to Barangay Ginebra San Miguel last Dec. 19.

“What was reminded of us was, we cannot put those two losses to waste by not learning from that, and guys were reminding everybody that there shouldn’t be anymore letdown,” said Robinson, who lost both games despite leading in the final stretch.

“I guess, yun yung naging battlecry nila down the end,” added Robinson, who also celebrated his 47th birthday with a victory at the expense of his former Red Bull mentor Yeng Guiao.

NLEX suffered its first loss after a 4-0 start as it played catchup throughout the second half.

Import KJ McDaniels had his lowest output of the tournament with 12 points, 10 rebounds, two assists with no steals and one block after averaging 33.5 points, 11.8 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 2.3 steals and 2.0 blocks in the first four games.

Rookie Calvin Oftana, who posted 18 points and 11 rebounds, tried to lead a fourth quarter rally after Phoenix led 84-73 with over eight minutes to go but NLEX couldn’t go into the New Year break with a clean slate.

The Scores:

PHOENIX 102 — Wright 23, Chua 19, Banchero 17, Melecio 12, Perkins 10, Jazul 8, Demusis 4, Manganti 2, Harris 2, Garcia 2, Rios 2, Camacho 1, Muyang 0.

NLEX 93 — Oftana 18, Trollano 16, McDaniels 12, Alas 11, Varilla 10, Paniamogan 8, Rosales 8, Quinahan 6, Cruz 4, Semerad 0.

Quarters: 26-18, 49-43, 72-67, 102-93.

Source: Manila Bulletin (