Phoenix nearly relinquished a 24-point lead but held on just in time to score a thrilling 87-82 win over sliding Barangay Ginebra in the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Friday night.
The Fuel Masters appeared to be on their way to an easy win midway through the fourth period with still a commanding 81-64 lead until Ginebra tried to flash its comeback spirit.
Owing to that never say die mantra, the Gin Kings mounted a comeback, unleashing an 18-4 bomb punctuated by Kevin Ferrer’s triple to zero in on within 85-82, only 1.5 seconds to go.
Unfortunately though, time wasn’t on their side as Jeff Chan just sealed the game with a pair of freethrows en route to the cardiac win.
The Fuel Masters improved to 3-3 while handing the Gin Kings their third loss in a row at 2-3
Sniping duo Matthew Wright and Jeff Chan chipped in 19 points apiece with a combined 5 triples to lead Phoenix’s charge.
Willy Wilson also added 19, 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals for Phoenix who rode on a 21-0 spree late in the second quarter which transformed a 29-28 deficit to 49-29 lead entering the break.
They didn’t look back from there until Ginebra gave a scare late in the game that still fell short of time.
Scottie Thompson tried to rescue Ginebra from the dead, scoring 20 points in the second half including a couple of steals and and-ones in the waning seconds which almost catapulted Ginebra to a familiar comeback.
However, he fell short so did his breakout game of 22 markers, 13 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals.
Japeth Aguilar backstopped Thompson with 21 points and 9 boards but still weren’t enough as Ginebra really felt the absence of Greg Slaughter who is still nursing a strained hamstring.
Phoenix collides with Alaska on January 31 at the Mall of Asia Arena while Ginebra takes on unbeaten San Miguel on January 28 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
PHOENIX 87 – Chan 19, Wilson 19, Wright 19, Perkins 12, Revilla 6, Alolino 4, Mendoza 4, Kramer 2, Jazul 2, Intal 0, Guevarra 0.
GINEBRA 82 – Thompson 22, Aguilar J. 21, Ferrer 11, Tenorio 10, Caguioa 6, Cruz 6, Aguilar R. 3, Mariano 3, Taha 0, Mercado 0, Wilson 0, Jamito 0.
Quarters: 15-19; 49-29; 75-53; 87-82.