Phoenix Pulse ripped a page out of NorthPort’s recent playbook and in the process threw a monkey wrench at the oddsmakers.
With Matthew Wright showing the way, the 11-man Fuel Masters pulled off a 97-87 win over the erstwhile streaking Batang Pier Wednesday in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Wright scattered 14 of his gamehigh 28 points in the final canto, with the first six stoking Phoenix’s drive to a 15-point lead and the rest helping serve as buffer for NorthPort’s gritty fightback inside the final six minutes.
The Batang Pier, who only two games back won despite playing with only eight men, did whittle the deficit to just three points twice, but Wright and the rest of the Fuel Masters had enough left in the tank to hold on and eventually notch their third win in seven games.
Richard Howell added 18 points and, more important for Phoenix coach Louie Alas, hauled down 15 rebounds that led the team’s 56-46 advantage off the boards.