Phoenix outgun Aces to boost PBA playoff bid

MANILA, Philippines — The Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters revived their playoff hopes in the PBA Governors' Cup as they edged the Alaska Aces, 104-99, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Thursday.

With their post-season in peril, the Fuel Masters ended a three-game slide and fended off the Aces in a nip-and-tuck affair that saw both teams go on scoring runs to keep things interesting.

Phoenix's debuting import Du'vaughn Maxwell scored on a tough basket with 20 ticks left in the game to pad the Fuel Masters' lead to four, 103-99.

While Maxwell failed to convert on the bonus free throw, it proved enough as the Aces turned the ball over in the next possession that doomed their chances.

RJ Jazul then split at the free throw line to arrive at the final score.

Though Phoenix was ahead for most of the game, the Aces were always breathing down their necks with numerous scoring runs that kept the Fuel Masters sweating.

A 13-0 run for Alaska even had the Aces ahead, 93-92, with 5:32 ticks left in the game.

But a quick 7-1 burst flipped the script and had Phoenix ahead anew, 99-94.

The Fuel Masters improved to .500 with a 5-5 record to return to playoff contention.

Meanwhile, the Aces, who are in the midst of their farewell tour in the PBA, fell to 6-4.

Matthew Wright was the top scorer for Phoenix with 26 points. He also had 11 assists and seven rebounds.

Jason Perkins, who keyed a hot start for Phoenix, chipped in 22 points.

Maxwell and Jazul had 21 points each as well, with the former also having 21 rebounds for a monster double-double.

For the Aces, it was Ashaolu who took charge with 24 points.

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