Phoenix Super LPG overcame a 17-point deficit before preventing a late mishap to beat Terrafirma, 103-100, Thursday, Dec. 9 in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
Matthew Wright and balik-import Paul Harris sparked the comeback as the Fuel Masters won despite trailing 67-50 in the third and 90-77 in the fourth against a Dyip side led by debuting import Antonio Hester and new addition Alex Cabagnot.
Wright scored 10 of his 17 points during a 14-1 run that allowed the Fuel Masters to tie the score at 91-all in the fourth while Harris had 24 points, 15 rebounds and three assists in his first PBA game since 2016.
The Fuel Masters prevailed in a start that came after missing the quarterfinals of the Philippine Cup with a 4-7 record and acquiring Sean Anthony, who didn’t see action after undergoing surgery to remove bone spurs on his ankle.
They also prevailed despite having difficulty against the strong presence of Hester, who put up 28 points, 16 rebounds and four assists in his debut.
“We just kept on playing. We just kept on grinding it with them. We just didn’t want to give up,” said Phoenix coach Topex Robinson. “We keep playing and take our chances. And I guess we just went down to our defense, and our defense really helped our offense.”
RJ Jazul, Jason Perkins and Chris Banchero also had a hand in the victory when their baskets enabled Phoenix take a 100-94 lead with over two minutes left in the fourth as turnovers hurt Terrafirma.
But Terrafirma tried to make a last-ditch attempt of at least sending the game into overtime, with Juami Tiongson scoring a three-point play with 16.1 seconds left in the fourth to trail 100-98.
Harris’ two free throws were cancelled by a layup by Cabagnot, in his first Terrafirma appearance since being traded from San Miguel Beer last month, before Perkins missed two freebies that gave the Dyip to tie or take the lead while being down 102-100.
Luckily for Phoenix, Hester’s pass hit Cabagnot’s body resulting in a turnover with 3.3 left. Harris split his charities for a three-point lead before deflecting a long inbound by Terrafirma to seal the victory.
Tiongson carried his form from the previous conference by scoring 20 points while Cabagnot added 12 points, seven rebounds and five assists for the Dyip.
PHOENIX 103 — Harris 24, Banchero 18, Perkins 18, Wright 17, Jazul 9, Muyang 6, Manganti 4, Garcia 3, Chua 2, Pascual 2, Rios 0, Melecio 0, Tamsi 0.
TERRAFIRMA 100 — Hester 28, Tiongson 20, Cabagnot 12, Ramos 9, Cahilig 8, Adams 6, Ganuelas-Rosser 5, Celda 5, Gabayni 3, Camson 2, Pascual 2, Balagasay 0, Batiller 0
Quarters: 30-25, 42-52, 67-77, 103-100.