Phoenix holds off NLEX, Ginebra pulls ahead late against GlobalPort

Phoenix Fuel Masters 102 – NLEX Road Warriors 95

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The Phoenix Fuel Masters worked as a unit to take down the undefeated NLEX Road Warriors for their second win in the Philippine Cup.

NLEX jumped out to an early six point lead as Juami Tiongson set the tone with his outside shooting. But Phoenix didn’t lack shooters of their own. Jeff Chan scored five straight points in the second quarter to pull the Fuel Masters back into the game. It was a shootout near the end of the first half as both teams’ offenses were clicking in the game. In the third quarter, Chan and Matthew Wright teamed up to help the Fuel Masters pull away. Chan’s shooting combined with Wright’s playmaking helped Phoenix build a double-digit lead. A shot inside by RJ Jazul gave Phoenix their biggest lead of the game at 17 points early in the fourth period.

The Road Warriors clawed their way back in the game. They got to within four points late in the final period because of their concentrated effort to score inside. But Wright repeatedly shut the door on NLEX. He drove to the hoop to increase the lead to six. When NLEX threatened again, Wright hit a high-looping jumper to bring the lead up to eight. He also issued two nice passes to Jason Perkins and Doug Kramer to help Phoenix pull away for good.

Wright led the team with 19 points and seven assists. Chan came off the bench to score 18 points with six boards. Jazul had 15 while Perkins added 14. The Fuel Masters limited Kiefer Ravena to just 8 points on 30% shooting.

Barangay Ginebra 104 – GlobalPort Batang Pier 97

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Barangay Ginebra looked rusty after a long break and the GlobalPort Batang Pier took advantage to run out to a lead. Unfortunately, Ginebra woke up late in the game to pull away for the win.

Stanley Pringle and Sean Anthony were an awesome duo all throughout the game. Midway through the third quarter, Pringle intercepted a pass intended for LA Tenorio and in one motion spun midair  to avoid the defense. He landed with a clear path to the hoop and took it all the way to build a seven-point lead. In the next offensive possession, Anthony buried a contested three-pointer to increase the lead to nine points. GlobalPort looked firmly in control of the game at that point. They brought momentum and that nine-point lead into the fourth period.

That lead wouldn’t last for long. The bench mob of Ginebra got the run started as Jervy Cruz, Paolo Taha and Mark Caguioa scored baskets inside to cut the lead down to just one point. Anthony tried to pull GlobalPort ahead but Ginebra found their rhythm. Tenorio buried back-to-back three-pointers to cut the lead down to just two points. Ginebra finally took the lead when they ran a perfect play to get Japeth Aguilar an alley-oop slam. Aguilar, Scottie Thompson and Greg Slaughter all scored inside as Ginebra pulled away for good in the final minutes.

Slaughter was double and triple-teamed all night but he still finished with 18 points and nine boards. Tenorio had 17 points and seven assists. Aguilar led the team with 21 points. Pringle almost had a triple-double with 23 points, eight rebounds and 10 assists. Anthony had a game-high 29 points in the loss.

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