by Jonas Terrado
(Mall of Asia Arena)
3 p.m. – Star vs Blackwater
5:15 p.m. – San Miguel vs Rain or Shine
Import Jameel McKay made the shaded lane his own territory and finished with 42 points and 22 rebounds as Phoenix dealt Alaska its second straight loss, 94-86, yesterday in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The lanky 6-foot-9 with dreadlocks already had a double-double with eight minutes left in the second quarter that kept the Fuel Masters ahead for majority of the contest, before completing the upset win with several dunks off pick-and-roll plays in the fourth quarter that frustrated the Aces, and their coach Alex Compton.
The absence of Alaska’s do-it-all forward Calvin Abueva greatly helped the Fuel Masters get back on the winning track.
Abueva, who sustained a cut on his lip during Gilas Pilipinas practice last Monday, was rested by Alaska.
Phoenix’s camp panicked a bit when McKay suffered cramps with 1:22 left in the game with the Aces not far behind, 88-81.
Fortunately for the Fuel Masters, there was no repeat of their massive collapse against the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters last Holy Wednesday to gain a 3-4 record heading into the All-Star break.
“Ibang dimension ang binibigay niya dahil sa mga hustle plays niya,” said Phoenix coach Ariel Vanguardia of McKay, who joined the team in the second game of the conference after helping the Perth Wildcats win Australia’s National Basketball League title.
Three dunks by McKay in the fourth highlighted the victory, the last giving Phoenix an 88-76 lead with 2:59 left.
Cyrus Baguio and RJ Jazul reminded their former team of the past as they were the other double-digit scorers for the Fuel Masters with 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Baguio had eight points in the first half while Jazul added eight assists as they beat the Aces for the first time since they were dealt through separate trades with Baguio being dealt last season and Jazul sent for Simon Enciso before the start of the conference.