Phoenix demolishes NLEX by 35 points to snap PBA skid

Phoenix scores a much-needed win over NLEX (PBA)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

The Phoenix Fuel Masters put on a three-point shooting clinic to crush the NLEX Road Warriors, 112-77, in the ongoing PBA Philippine Cup on April 20, 2024, at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.

Phoenix hosted a massive three-point display in front of the Pasig crowd after converting a total of 17 triples to keep their PBA playoff campaign alive.

From the get-go, Phoenix already found their groove from downtown led by veteran floor general RJ Jazul who sank two early treys to help his squad capture the momentum.

Despite early zone defense adjustments by the Road Warriors with the hope of limiting Phoenix’s three-point efficiency, the hot-handed Fuel Masters just made it rain and sucked the life out of NLEX when they built a 12-point lead heading into the second half.

NLEX kicked off the second half with more fire and defensive intensity after scoring six quick points while holding Phoenix to just two markers in the first two minutes of the third quarter.

However, all hell broke loose midway through the frame when the Fuel Masters knocked down three straight three-pointers that put them once again in a favorable position.

It was then all Phoenix until the fourth quarter as they outscored the Road Warriors, 33-15, and ended the game with a masterclass performance on both offense and defense.

Jazul led Phoenix with 19 points derived from six made three-pointers and became their focal point of offense in the first half.

Meanwhile, two-way rookie swingman Ken Tuffin shot a perfect 3/3 from downtown and ended the win with 17 points, seven rebounds, two assists, and two steals.

JJay Alejandro was also a beast for Phoenix, contributing 16 markers, five boards, and three dimes. It was in the second half that the former TNT point guard made his presence felt after cashing in two quick treys that kicked off their third-quarter assault.

“We just found the open man. We talked about it previously. We moved the ball very well and we had some great shots going into this game. I’m just happy that we were able to convert,” said Phoenix head coach Jamike Jarin.