Sean Manganti and Simon Camacho, players taken prior to the start of the conference, put up impressive numbers as the Fuel Masters forged a three-way share of the lead with the NLEX Road Warriors and Alaska Aces.
The Fuel Masters also added more frustration for the Bossing, who dropped their second straight game in the conference for a record-extending 21st consecutive defeat.
Chris Banchero produced 23 points, five rebounds and seven assists while import Paul Harris had 19 points, 16 rebounds and seven assists for Phoenix.
But both players wouldn’t mind stepping away from the spotlight, given the production given by Manganti, who was part of a deal from NorthPort that sent Vic Manuel for Sean Anthony.
Manganti scored 17 points while providing solid defense for most of his 15-minute appearance.
His former Adamson teammate Camacho also played 15 minutes and put up 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting with four rebounds. Phoenix signed Camacho, who was the Most Valuable Player of the inaugural Filbasket tournament for Medical Depot recently.
“That’s really great for us knowing how hard Blackwater played,” said Phoenix coach Topex Robinson. “They kept the game close, they kept us grounded, and again guys are just happy to contribute.”
Phoenix led by a high of 14 but had to deal with several comeback bids by Blackwater for most of the second half.
Every time the Bossing tried to keep close, the Fuel Masters would respond with their defense coupled with timely baskets, some from the unlikely pair of Manganti and Camacho.
Import Jaylen Bond had 18 points, 15 rebounds and four assists for the Bossing.
Five others scored in double figures in Richard Escoto (16), Joshua Torralba (14), Rashawn McCarthy (13) and Baser Amer (12), but that didn’t prevent Blackwater from stopping its skid.
Blackwater also lost veteran guard Jvee Casio, who injured his right ankle while going for a layup in the second quarter.
PHOENIX 110 — Banchero 23, Harris 19, Manganti 17, Camacho 10, Garcia 9, Wright 7, Rios 6, Perkins 5, Demusis 5, Chua 4, Jazul 4, Muyang 1.
BLACKWATER 99 — Bond 18, Escoto 16, Torralba 14, McCarthy 13, Amer 12, Ebona 9, Chauca 5, Casio 4, Daquioag 4, Cañaleta 2, Gabriel 2, Desiderio 0, McAloney 0.
Quarters: 28-18, 51-45, 83-74, 110-99.
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