Phoenix Super LPG posted its second straight win while waiting for the much-awaited return of Calvin Abueva after surviving NorthPort 110-105 Thursday in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center.
With Matthew Wright focusing on being a facilitator, Jason Perkins tied his career high with 31 points while Justin Chua scored 17 points for the second straight game as the Fuel Masters remained unbeaten under interim coach Topex Robinson.
Wright, coming off a 36-point showing against Meralco last Monday, had 23 but dished out nine assists which enabled guys like Perkins and Chua to take advantage.
The Fuel Masters prevailed on the day the Games and Amusements Board reinstated the professional license of Abueva, who now needs a decision from the PBA to lift his indefinite suspension that has been going on for 15 months.
“Everybody’s waiting for Calvin to return. I mean, we’re excited for him but what’s in front right now is about us,” said Robinson. “Not until we see that Beast coming in to our dugout, that’s the only time we’re gonna have him. But as long as he’s not here, we’re gonna keep on competing.”
Phoenix joined its next opponent TNT and the winner of the second game between Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and Blackwater atop the standings at 2-0 despite persistent attempts by NorthPort to steal the game.
The Batang Pier charged back in the fourth, taking the lead momentarily at 86-85 on Garvo Lanete’s corner three with 8:32 remaining. But Perkins scored seven, Chua with back-to-back triples and Jansen Rios five as the Fuel Masters went on an 18-8 response to make it 103-94, with over three minutes left.
NorthPort pulled within four, 103-99, on a basket by Christian Standhardinger and was able to make a stop when RJ Jazul missed a triple. Sean Anthony grabbed the rebound, only for Jazul to steal the ball and find Wright for an open three to extend Phoenix’s lead to 106-99, 56 seconds left.
Standhardinger had 28 points, 11 rebounds and five assists and Anthony registered a triple-double of 23 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists with four steals but NorthPort dropped to 0-2.
PHOENIX 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, Revilla 2, Guinto 2, Cruz 2, Manganti 0, Subido 0.
Quarters: 23-23, 55-51, 83-77, 110-105.