JC Intal missed two pressure-packed free throws during the closing seconds of the game which would’ve iced the game but lady luck was smiling on Phoenix as Chris Ross missed on a three-pointer and Von Pessumal likewise failed to convert on the short stab as Phoenix escaped with a 92-90 victory in Game 3, Sunday night at the Smart Aranera Coliseum.
The win enabled the Fuel Masters to cut the series deficit to just one game, 1-2 and go into Game 4 with a chance to equalize the best-of-seven affair.
Matthew Wright had 18 points including 2 clutch free throws which gave Phoenix a 92-88 lead with the game clock down to 21 seconds.
Calvin Abueva tallied 18 markers as well to go along with 13 boards, 5 assists and 2 steals for the Louie Alas-mentored squad who led by as many as 11 points and held on to the lead this time, unlike in the 2 previous games.
“Sabi ko nga, Hindi tayo pwedeng maglaro ng less than 48 minutes against San Miguel. At least kanina, hanggang sa last seconds nakaka-execute kami. Basically, ganito rin naman iyung second game. Nung second game hindi lang kami naka-close out,” said Alas after the contest which saw Phoenix big man Dave Marcelo get thrown out of the game for a Flagrant foul penalty 2 on Christian Standhardinger.
June Mar Fajardo bounced back from a below double-figure scoring performance in Game 2 to pace the Beermen with 22 points. The 5-time league MVP narrowly missed a 20-20 as he grabbed a game-high 19 rebounds.
Alex Cabagnot added 18 markers while Terrence Romeo and Chrstian Standhardinger added 18 points each.
Phoenix Pulse 92 – Abueva 18, Wright 18, Chua 15, Jazul 14, Perkins 8, Intal 8, Kramer 5, Revilla 4, Mallari 2, Napoles 0, Mendoza 0, Dennison 0, Guevarra 0.
San Miguel 90 – Fajardo 22, Cabagnot 18, Romeo 16, Standhardinger 16, Ross 8, Pessumal 3, Santos 3, Rosser 2, Nabong 2, Zamar 0, Tubid 0.
Quarterscores: 21-19, 40-36, 64-66, 92-90.