Phoenix Pulse is now in danger of missing the quarterfinals after the Fuel Masters were stunned by NLEX 87-85 in the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup at Cuneta Astrodome on Friday.
Despite losing coach Yeng Guiao near the end of the game due to technical fouls, NLEX escaped with the win even after the Phoenix’s furious late-game run that pulled them to within a point 86-85 with 8 seconds to go.
Kenneth Ighalo paced the Road Warriors with 14 points on 5-of-10 field-goal shooting, while Olu Ashaolu added 17 points and 17 rebounds.
Already out of contention for the playoffs, NLEX played a free flowing game and piled up a 20-point advantage.
Phoenix played with more urgency near the end by wiping out the deficit and threatening.
But Jericho Cruz sealed the victory for NLEX by splitting his free throws, ensuring the Road Warriors get their third win in 11 games as they end their Commissioner’s Cup campaign.
It was a huge loss for Phoenix, which is trying to make it into the top 8 teams that will advance to the quarterfinals.
Jazul led Phoenix with 20 points. The Fuel Masters now hope their record will be good enough to give them a shot at a playoff for the 8th and last seed, and a chance to advance.
NLEX 87 - Ashaolu 17, Ighalo 14, Quinahan 9, Paniamogan 9, Erram 7, Cruz 6, Lao 5, Tiongson 5, Fonacier 5, Taulava 4, Soyud 4, Varilla 2, Baguio 0, Galanza 0.
Phoenix 85 - Jazul 20, Wright 16, Mallari 13, Howell 11, Intal 6, Marcelo 6, Perkins 2, Napoles 0, Wilson 0, Guevarra 0, Gamboa 0.
Quarterscores: 21-11, 45-32, 65-54, 87-85.
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