Nov 29, 2023

Williams leads surging Phoenix past Terrafirma

JONATHAN Williams led the way and his local teammates followed suit as Phoenix Super LPG extended its mastery over Terrafirma through a 103-84 win Wednesday in the PBA Commissioner's Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Williams scattered 29 points and was instrumental in a telling second quarter run that gave the Fuel Masters full control of the match right there before hooking up with the likes of Ricci Rivero and RJ Jazul in extending the lead to a high of 91-61.

The win, its third straight and fourth in as many meetings with Terrafirma since last season, gave Phoenix a 4-1 record that equaled the franchise's best five-game start in an import-laden conference and coach Jamike Jarin gave Williams a ton of props for taking the lead.

"We're just playing really good selfless basketball and one of the reasons is (pointing to Williams) the guy on my left," said Jarin in the post-game presser.

"Jonathan Williams is really playing well. He's playing very selfless and he's also leading the team, so a lot of credit has to go to J3 here," added Jarin.

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"And also everybody's just contributing in their own little way, screening, rebounding, running. Thise little stuff you don't see in the stats. But it's a collective effort, both offensively and defensively."

Williams refused to hog all the credit. "My teammates found me earlier and when they chased me down the post, I found my teammates," said the former LA Laker who also finished with 13 rebounds and four assists.

Phoenix now sits at second behind unbeaten Magnolia and has a clear shot at making it among the top eight teams advancing to the quarterfinals following the 11-game eliminations. But Jarin does not want to look that far ahead just yet.

"We're happy right now but we cannot go to the playoffs on four wins," stated Jarin.

Jazul added 13 points, Jason Perkins and Tyler Tio at least 10 each for Phoenix, which saw all but two of the 14 players fielded by Jarin scoring.

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The loss was Terrafirma's second straight that dropped it to a 2-3 record, a result that started taking shape when Phoenix went on an 18-0 run that yanked it out of a 25-21 lead and into a 43-21 bulge.

Not even the return of Thomas de Thaey from a groin injury and Juami Tiongson from flu-like fever could boost the Dyip although the Belgian did have 18 points and a game-high 14 boards.

Tiongson, however, shot only 4-of-14 from the field for only 10 points while worse off was Stephen Holt, who missed his first seven shots before winding up with just two points on a 1-of-12 clip. The top pick overall in the rookie draft did have eight rebounds and five dimes.

Javi Gomez de Liano and Ed Daquioag came off the bench to chip in 13 and 12 points, respectively. (NC)

The Scores:

Phoenix 103 - Williams 29, Jazul 13, Perkins 11, Tio 10, Rivero 10, Tuffin 8, Verano 7, Soyud 6, Lalata 4, Camacho 3, Garcia 2, Daves 0, Alejandro 0, Manganti 0.

Terrafirma 84 - De Thaey 18, Gomez de Liano 13, Daquioag 12, Tiongson 10, Carino 9, Cahilig 7, Miller 6, Go 3, Holt 2, Ramos 2, Alolino 2, Olivario 0, Calvo 0, Camson 0.

Quarters: 23-19, 48-32, 78-55, 103-84.