Phoenix and Columbian survive last-gasp rallies

The Phoenix Fuel Masters stayed in contention for the top spot. They got key breaks in the final minutes of the game to pull out a win over the NorthPort Batang Pier, 98-96. Phoenix keeps the second spot with a 6-1 record while NorthPort falls to eighth at 2-3.

With 50 seconds left and the game tied, NorthPort tried to get the go-ahead basket. They got the ball to Sean Anthony on the left wing who was isolated against Justin Chua. Anthony rose up for a three-pointer and Chua closed out to challenge the shot. As Anthony was descending from his shot, his left hand hit Chua’s face. Anthony was called for an offensive foul.

Matthew Wright was then called for an offensive foul on a drive, giving NorthPort the ball back. The Batang Pier still had one more chance for a go-ahead basket on their next offensive possession but Ryan Araña missed a three-pointer, opening the door for Phoenix to win the game.

The Fuel Masters got the ball to Jason Perkins on the right wing. The burly forward had 10 seconds to work with and he bullied his way into the paint. Perkins was fouled on his drive giving him two freebies with seven seconds left. Perkins buried both free throws to give the Fuel Masters the lead. Robert Bolick missed a long three-pointer in the final seconds, giving Phoenix the win.

It was a balanced scoring effort for the Fuel Masters. Wright continued his hot streak with 22 points, four three-pointers and five assists. Perkins scored 12 points and grabbed seven boards. Chua led the bench mob with 19 points and nine boards. Calvin Abueva added 14 points and seven rebounds. Mo Tautuaa led the Batang Peir with 22 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. Anthony had 20 points and nine rebounds.

In the first game, the Columbian Dyip held on to a slim one-point lead to get their third win of the conference. They take down the Meralco Bolts, 86-85. The Dyip take the seventh spot at 3-4 while the Bolts fall to 10th at 2-4.

McCarthy played a big role in building the safety net of the Bolts. Midway through the final period, he got an offensive rebound on a fast break miss and scored on a layup to give Columbian a one-point lead. A possession later, Glenn Khobuntin and Jeepy Faundo played the two-man game to perfection getting a score on a Faundo drive, increasing the lead up to three. McCarthy then nailed a long three-pointer a few minutes later to bring the lead up to six points.

That’s when the Bolts tried to rally back to steal the game. Chris Newsome drove to the hoop and got a foul. He nailed two freebies to cut the deficit down. Newsome then buried a three-pointer off a broken play to bring Columbian’s lead down to just one point. The Dyip couldn’t get the dagger, giving Meralco a chance to win the game in the final seconds.

Unfortunately for the Bolts, their final play broke down. Baser Amer couldn’t find the bottom of the basket on a three-pointer and Cliff Hodge missed a jumper in the final seconds. Columbian escaped with the win.

McCarthy pumped in 30 points on six treys to lead all players in scoring. Khobuntin scored 14 points off the bench. Newsome led the Bolts with 17 points and five rebounds. Hodge and Ranidel De Ocampo scored 14 points each.