(UPDATED) Jason Perkins shone as the Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters overpowered the TerraFirma Dyip, 96-84, on Thursday afternoon at the Don Honorio Ventura State University Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.
Perkins scored a conference-high 28 points on top of four rebounds and four assists, while Vic Manuel added 18 points and Matthew Wright had 15 markers.
It was the Fuel Masters' third win of the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup, improving their record to 3-5 and keeping them in the hunt for a playoff berth. Phoenix Super LPG also snapped the Dyip's three-game winning streak.
"They beat San Miguel, they beat Ginebra, they beat Blackwater. That means they're really here on a mission. So we just respected the team," Phoenix coach Topex Robinson said of TerraFirma.
"We know that if we're not gonna give our best basketball, I mean, that's a recipe for a loss for us," he added.
Determined to avoid an upset, the Fuel Masters opened the game with 11 unanswered points, only for the Dyip to get their rhythm late in the quarter, thanks to Rashawn McCarthy.
In the second period, Juami Tiongson and sophomore forward Roosevelt Adams got going, and TerraFirma came all the way back to snatch the lead. They were up 42-41, thanks to a Reden Celda layup with under three minutes to go, but it was Phoenix that ended the half on top, 48-47, thanks to Perkins who poured in 20 points.
The Fuel Masters came out with guns blazing after the halftime break and built a double-digit lead again, but TerraFirma refused to go away quietly. Eric Camson drilled a three-pointer at the buzzer to make it a five-point game, 69-64, heading into the fourth quarter.
"We just have to stick to our guns, focus on making stops, and that's really what's important sa amin," Robinson said of the adjustments they made against the Dyip. "You know that we could score, but the problem is we're not making stops. And that's what we did earlier in this ball game."
Phoenix finally pulled away for good in the fourth, and they eventually led by as much as 18 points, 90-72, and again at 92-74. Buckets by James Laput and Adams trimmed the deficit, but it was too little, too late for TerraFirma.
Aldrech Ramos led the Dyip with 13 points, while Camson and Adams had 11 points each. Tiongson, who was named Player of the Game last week for anchoring TerraFirma's winning streak, was limited to just eight points on 2-of-10 shooting. The Dyip got clobbered on the boards, 51-39, by the Fuel Masters.