Phoenix Super LPG withstood NorthPort, 110-105, to gain a share of leadership in the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup, Thursday at the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center in Pampanga
Jason Perkins led the Fuel Masters with 31 points, including the pair of charities with 12 seconds left that shut the door close for the Batang Pier, who fought back from 14 down in the third.
The 6-foot-3 bruiser shot 12-of-18 from the field and also collared 12 rebounds in the victory that hiked their card to 2-0, joining TNT Tropang Giga on top of the team standings.
“It’s just a blessing for us to really be given an opportunity to grow. We expected this to be a tough battle,” said Phoenix interim head coach Topex Robinson.
Matthew Wright, who had 36 versus Meralco last Sunday, had 23 points on 5-of-13 shooting as he was the opposing team’s focal point on defense. But he deferred to his teammates and had nine assists.
“We knew they were gonna look at Matthew, and Matthew knew this was the best opportunity for him to build trust,” lauded Robinson of the Fil-Canadian guard.
Justin Chua made his presence felt as well with 17 points spiked by three triples, alongside three rebounds and three blocks although he fouled out with 1:55 left to play.
The Fuel Masters established a 73-59 lead past the midway mark of the third but the Batang Pier slowly chipped away the deficit and gave a major scare come the final frame.
Pido Jarencio’s wards opened the quarter with a 9-2 run ended by a Garvo Lanete triple to turn an eight-point deficit to a one-point lead, 86-85, with 8:32 on the clock.
Perkins, though, responded with a trey of his own shortly after as he led an 18-8 surge to give Phoenix Super LPG a 103-94 advantage with 3:09 remaining.
But the Batang Pier kept on fighting back, and it got to within striking distance, 104-106, with 13.4 seconds left following a Kevin Ferrer trey, which was his fourth in the period alone.
That, until Perkins coolly sank his freebies to widen the Fuel Masters’ lead to 108-104. Sean Anthony still tried to trim the gap further but time wasn’t enough, and RJ Jazul sealed it through his free throws.
Phoenix shot 46.2-percent from the field that saw them nail a total of 17 three-pointers, 11 of which were provided by the trio of Wright, Perkins, and Chua.
Christian Standhardinger led NorthPort with 28 points, 11 rebounds, and five assists as he logged nearly 39 minutes in the Batang Pier’s second loss in as many games.
The defeat wasted the triple-double performance of Anthony, who collected 23 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists. Lanete had 17 markers as Ferrer chimed in 14.
Phoenix will battle TNT next on Monday, Oct. 19., while NorthPort hopes to notch its first win when it takes on Rain or Shine this Sunday, Oct. 18. Both games are set at 4:00 p.m.
Phoenix Super LPG (110) — Perkins 31, Wright 23, Chua 17, Jazul 10, Heruela 9, Rios 8, Intal 5, Napoles 4, Marcelo 3, Reyes 0, Garcia 0.
NorthPort (105) — Standhardinger 28, Anthony 23, Lanete 17, Ferrer 14, Taha 7, Nabong 6, Elorde 4, Cruz 2, Revilla 2, Guinto 2, Manganti 0, Subido 0.
Quarterscores: 23-23, 55-51, 83-77, 110-105.