The Phoenix Fuel Masters put up a gutsy stand in the fourth period to finally get a win in the Semifinals against the San Miguel Beermen. They eked out a 92-90 win to come within one game of tying the series.
It was a physical affair all throughout the game. Phoenix tried to match San Miguel’s firepower through their defensive intensity. Their tough defense resulted in two flagrant fouls in the first half. The first came when Matthew Wright hit Von Pessumal on a drive. Wright was assessed with a Flagrant Foul 1 on that play. Then, early in the second period, Dave Marcelo swing his forearm into Christian Standhardinger’s face, earning him a Flagrant Foul 2, removing him from the game.
In the third period, the Beermen finally started to get into their flow. They repeatedly went to June Mar Fajardo in the post. After falling behind by seven points in the third period, Fajardo scored six points in a 9-2 run to get the Beermen within three. He threw his weight around the paint in the third as the Beermen took a two-point lead heading to the final period.
Thankfully for Phoenix, Wright avoided ejection earlier in the game. He came alive the final period leading the Fuel Masters back to the driver’s seat. Wright tied the game with a three-pointer in the fourth period and then pushed the advantage up to five with a floater.
Fajardo continued to power San Miguel, tying the count late in the game. But Wright would not be denied. He sank four straight free throws to push Phoenix ahead. Chris Ross got their team to within one basket but Phoenix had one last defensive stance to hold off San Miguel.
Wright led the Fuel Masters with 18 points. Calvin Abueva scored 18 points as well and grabbed 13 boards. Fajardo led the Beermen with 22 points and 19 rebounds.