Phoenix survives gritty NLEX to remain unbeaten in 5 games

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Unbeaten Phoenix came up with the game’s biggest defensive gem to nip NLEX 83-82 Friday and remain firmly lodged at the top of the PBA Philippine Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Calvin Abueva came soaring off the weak side to pull off a block on a jump-shooting Bong Galanza in the last second, enabling the Fuel Masters to extend their franchise-best start to a conference at 5-0.

That sterling play made sure Abueva’s 13 points and 11 rebounds, plus the game-high 17 points, five rebounds and six assists of Matthew Wright, did not go to waste.

Phoenix coach Louie Alas is simply glad his team came out with a win over a tough NLEX side that refused to simply buckle under despite being faced with an early 17-point deficit.

“JR (Quinahan) nandoon pa rin, pero na-limit namin sila (Poy) Erram, (Marion) Magat at saka (Kris) Porter.”

Indeed, Quinahan hit his average with 14 points, but Erram finished with just 11 points although he did have a game-best 15 rebounds. Porter wound up with just six points while Magat went scoreless.

The scores:

Phoenix 83 – Wright 17, Perkins 14, Abueva 13, Mendoza 8, Jazul 8, Chua 6, Mallari 6, Revilla 3, Kramer 2, Marcelo 2, Napoles 2, Dennison 2, Gamboa 0.

NLEX 82 – Quinahan 14, Galanza 12, Erram 11, Fonacier 9, Baguio 9, Lao 8, Ighalo 6, Porter 6, Paniamogan 5, Taulava 2, Tiongson 0, Magat 0, Tallo 0.

Quarterscores: 24-12, 45-44, 67-70, 83-82.

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