by Jonas Terrado
Game Today (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
7 p.m. – Magnolia vs Rain or Shine
(Rain or Shine leads series 2-1)
Talk about rising from the ashes.
Phoenix Pulse finally displayed the composure it lacked in the first two games as it survived San Miguel Beer, 92-90, Sunday night to cut its deficit to 2-1 in the resumption of their PBA Philippine Cup semifinals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Matthew Wright hit six straight free throws after the game’s final tie at 86-all before the Fuel Masters overcame a last-ditch attempt by the Beermen to steal the contest in the end.
The Fuel Masters’ JC Intal missed two free throws while clinging to a two-point lead but the Beermen’s Chris Ross bungled a go-ahead three and Von Pessumal failed to convert a tough jumper before the buzzer sounded.
“I have to commend them because of their resiliency,” said Coach Louie Alas as Phoenix got back into the best-of-seven series after 100-88 and 92-82 losses before the Lenten break.
The Fuel Masters will look to tie the count tomorrow at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.
Wright overcame three early fouls to finish with 18 points while Calvin Abueva was animated as usual at the start but stayed calm in the crucial moments to finish with 18 points, 13 rebounds and five assists.
June Mar Fajardo produced 22 points and 19 rebounds but the Beermen, who missed 17 of 39 free throws, blew a chance to gain a commanding 3-0 lead.
Fuel Masters big man Dave Marcelo was thrown out in the second quarter for a Flagrant Foul 2 on Christian Standhardinger.
Foul trouble also hounded Phoenix in the fourth as it tried to hold on to an 84-79 lead but San Miguel missed multiple free throws despite tying the score twice, the last at 86-all.
Phoenix 92 – Abueva 18, Wright 18, Chua 15, Jazul 14, Perkins 8, Intal 8, Kramer 5, Revilla 4, Mallari 2, Napoles 0, Mendoza 0, Dennison 0, Guevarra 0.
San Miguel 90 – Fajardo 22, Cabagnot 18, Romeo 16, Standhardinger 16, Ross 8, Pessumal 3, Santos 3, Rosser 2, Nabong 2, Zamar 0, Tubid 0.
Quarterscores: 21-19, 40-36, 64-66, 92-90.