The Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters is scheduled for a head-to-head game against the NLEX Road Warriors at 6:45 P.M. on October 26, 2020 live from the AUF Sports Arena & Cultural Center in Angeles City, Pampanga.
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The Fuel Masters are gunning for their fourth victory in this year’s edition of the All-Filipino Cup while the Road Warriors will try to avoid another defeat the will be put them deeper in the standings. That is what the PBA bubble will offer this evening when it resumes its competition in AUF Arena.
Playing in the bubble is considered to be historic for the first professional basketball league in Asia for all of its twelve teams. Apart from that, another significant moment particularly for Phoenix and to its fans which will transpire this evening and that’s the return of “the Beast”.
Yup, that’s right Calvin Abueva is back after 16 months of waiting for his PBA ban to be lifted.
“Nili-lift ko na ang suspension ni Calvin. Reinstated na siya,” said PBA commissioner Willie Marcial during a press briefing.
“Tuwang-tuwa siya (Abueva) at sabi niya gagawin niya ang lahat matapos siyang mabigyan ng pangalawang pagkakataon na makalaro sa PBA,” added Marcial.
With Abueva back to the Fuel Masters harness, their chances to be back at the “Magic Four” after the one round-robin format got boosted. During the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup, Phoenix finished as the number one squad in the elimination phase and reached the semi-finals round. They got eliminated by the eventual champion, the San Miguel Beermen in Game 5.
According to interim head coach Topex Robinson, their last outing versus the Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok was dedicated to Abueva. Phoenix stormed in the fourth-quarter and overcome a 17-point deficit to snatch the victory.
“The reason (we lost) during those games (was) because that’s what we are missing from Calvin. The energy, and that’s what the team provided us during that fourth quarter. You see everybody cheering because we know that if Calvin is on the bench, he will do the same,” said Robinson.
For NLEX on the other hand, their roller-coaster ride continues as they swallowed another loss against their sister-team the Meralco Bolts last October 23.
Though the usual player rotation strategy of coach Yeng Guiao gave a lift to their scoring where their bench gave 61 points yet the inside scoring of their opponent looks like went unguarded.
They gave up 44 points inside the paint score for Meralco and their shooting from behind the three-point arc went off as they only managed to swish ten baskets out of 34 attempts.
The tournament just crossed its half-way and there are still plenty of games remaining left for NLEX to climb back in the standings. Still, the winning streak must be ignited now to avoid complications when the quarterfinals round begins.