As great as their 2023-2024 PBA Commissioner’s Cup campaign thus far, the Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters needed a win over the Meralco Bolts.
Given that they and the Bolts were entering the game at both 7-2, the Fuel Masters needed to create some separation, especially with the San Miguel Beermen and the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings both having 7-3 win-loss records. Thus, a victory was what separated the much needed twice-to-beat advantage and an uphill climb due to an unfavorable matchup.
Thankfully, Jason Perkins had what was arguably his best game thus far in the Commissioner’s Cup.
Perkins came out on a mission, scoring on bruising layups and punishing 3-pointers. The former DLSU Green Archer finished with eight points in the opening quarter and had another eight points in the second quarter. In doing so, he guided Phoenix to a 54-47 lead over Meralco.
Perkins would only score six more points in the second half, but it didn’t matter; he only needed two quarters to send a message to his teammates, who didn’t allow the Bolts to score more than 19 points in both the third and fourth quarter.
Now, the Fuel Masters are at 8-2 with one more game against the TNT Tropang Giga on Sunday. Regardless of the result, Phoenix will enter the Commissioner’s Cup playoffs with a twice–to-beat advantage, but a win to end the preliminary round could give them a more favorable matchup. And they have Perkins, among other things, to thank for that.
If there’s one word to describe Perkins’ game, adaptability may be the apt term. The Hefty Lefty used his body to get rebounds and power through opponents in the post, but he later on lost weight and built on the perimeter elements of his game. Perkins can still do damage from the post, but the 2019 SEA Games Men’s 3×3 Basketball gold medallist has refined his game to the point that he won’t be pinpointed as the weakest link.
Injuries both during his time with the Green Archers and during his time with the Fuel Masters may have also led to him shedding some pounds and he has slowly but surely played in more games with each passing season. Perkins being on the court is good for Phoenix and perhaps even the PBA, so the hope is that he will be gearing up for what will hopefully be an extended postseason run.
Things are looking up for the Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters with the postseason of the 2023-2024 PBA Commissioner’s Cup right around the corner. Jason Perkins has been instrumental to the Fuel Masters’ run and there is optimism that the best is yet to come from him and Phoenix.