Phoenix outlasts NorthPort in down-the-wire finish

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Jason Perkins drained two charities with 7.2 seconds left then Phoenix Pulse put a crucial stoppage as the Fuel Masters squeezed out a 98-96 win over a crippled but fierce-fighting NorthPort team in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Friday.

Perkins broke the 96-all count on his free throws then the Fuel Masters applied a swarming defense to complete the win, enabling the team to put one foot into the post-elims play.

“Our character defensively, nag-i-improve. Four of our six won games, galing sa defensive stop,” said Phoenix coach Louie Alas who also mentioned the absence of Stanley Pringle as a big break they enjoyed in the game.

Minus Pringle, Tautuaa, Anthony, Nico Elorde, Robert Bolick and Paolo Taha shared the scoring load for NorthPort, all delivering double-digit outputs.

Wright had poured in 22 points before picking a sixth foul.

Justin Chua had his own big game with 19 markers plus nine rebounds while Calvin Abueva, Perkins and RJ Jazul chipped in 14, 12 and 10 points, respectively.

The scores:

Phoenix 98 – Wright 22, Chua 19, Abueva 14, Perkins 12, Jazul 10, Revilla 9, Mallari 7, Kramer 2, Dennison 2, Marcelo 1, Guevarra 0, Napoles 0, Mendoza 0.

NorthPort 96 – Tautuaa 22, Anthony 20, Elorde 15, Bolick 10, Taha 10, Guinto 8, Arana 6, Grey 3, Lanete 2, Flores 0, Sollano 0.

Quarterscores: 20-13, 41-38, 67-63, 98-96.

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