(UPDATED) The Phoenix Fuel Masters hacked out a difficult 98-96 win over a gritty NorthPort Batang Pier in the PBA Philippine Cup at Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday.
The scores were tied 96-all until Jason Perkins broke the deadlock by sinking 2 charities with 7.2 seconds to go.
Then, the Fuel Masters did everything to hang on to the lead until the final buzzer to secure their sixth win in 7 games.
"Our character defensively, nag-i-improve. Four of our six won games, galing sa defensive stop," said Phoenix coach Louie Alas said in the PBA website.
Alas believes they would have had a harder time against NorthPort if Stanley Pringle was around. The Batang Pier’s prized guard served a one-game suspension for his role in a scuffle with JayR Reyes during a tune-up game with Columbian Dyip last Feb. 19.
"Thank you, Pringle," said Alas of the NorthPort main man.
But Phoenix still had to grind it out as NorthPort was in the lead midway in the fourth period.
Matthew Wright top-scored for Phoenix with 22 points before fouling out. Justin Chua added 19 markers, while Calvin Abueva had 14.
Minus Pringle, Tautuaa, Anthony, Nico Elorde, Robert Bolick and Paolo Taha shared the scoring load for NorthPort, all delivering double-digit outputs.
Moala Tautuaa paced NorthPort with 22 markers, 8 rebounds and 7 assists. Sean Anthony had 20 points and 9 rebounds.
Phoenix 98 - Wright 22, Chua 19, Abueva 14, Perkins 12, Jazul 10, Revilla 9, Mallari 7, Kramer 2, Dennison 2, Marcelo 1, Guevarra 0, Napoles 0, Mendoza 0.
NorthPort 96 - Tautuaa 22, Anthony 20, Elorde 15, Bolick 10, Taha 10, Guinto 8, Arana 6, Grey 3, Lanete 2, Flores 0, Sollano 0.
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