Needing to get back on track, the Phoenix Fuel Masters torched the NorthPort Batang Pier, 97-87, Wednesday evening at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
Phoenix nearly blew a 15-point lead, as NorthPort fought back and knocked within just three, 87-90, after a Kevin Ferrer trey with 1:14 left in the game. Matthew Wright and RJ Jazul then conspired afterward to save the Fuel Masters.
The Fuel Masters were coming off a 96-99 loss to Magnolia Hotshots last weekend. They improved their win-loss card to 3-4.
Wright had 28 points, six assists, five rebounds, and two steals to lead the Fuel Masters in the victory that hiked their card to 3-4. Import Richard Howell produced 18 points, 15 rebounds, three steals, an assist, and a block.
RJ Jazul contributed 17 points, six rebounds, and three assists for Phoenix, while Jason Perkins chimed in 12 points. Alex Mallari was all over the place with 11 markers, seven boards, seven dimes, two steals, and a block.
“Pare, grind-out game,” exhaled Fuel Masters head coach Louie Alas.
Phoenix out-rebounded NorthPort, 56-46, and that’s what Alas is happy about. “At least we beat them in the rebounding battle. That was the least na ni-rebound ng NorthPort. Nagiging consistent na uli kami sa strength namin – rebounding.”
Mo Tautuaa had 19 points on three treys, six rebounds, and three assists to lead NorthPort, who fell to 7-2.
Kevin Ferrer had 18 points, eight rebounds, five assists, and two steals in the loss. Sean Anthony had 16 points, six rebounds, six assists, and two steals as well, while PBA Press Corps Player of the Week Robert Bolick only had 11.
Import Prince Ibeh had 12 points and 10 rebounds, but he fouled out with just 3:18 remaining in the match.
Phoenix will look to keep their flow going versus the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel this Friday, June 28. Meanwhile, NorthPort will aim to get back on track when they take on the Columbian Dyip next Wednesday, July 3. Both games will be at the Big Dome.
Phoenix 97 – Wright 28, Howell 18, Jazul 17, Perkins 12, Mallari 11, Chua 6, Intal 3, Napoles 2, Kramer 0, Marcelo 0, Wilson 0, Dennison 0.
NorthPort 87 – Tautuaa 19, Ferrer 18, Anthony 16, Ibeh 12, Bolick 11, Taha 6, Lanete 3, Cruz 2, Mercado 0, Arana 0.
Quarterscores: 19-28, 39-43, 64-51, 97-87.