Phoenix displayed poise down the stretch and slipped past NorthPort, 108-97, to finally barge into the win column of the 2023 PBA Governors’ Cup at the PhilSports Arena on Thursday, Feb. 2.
Jason Perkins, RJ Jazul and Sean Manganti delivered timely baskets in protecting the Fuel Masters' lead for good following a fourth-quarter assault from the Batang Pier that cut their advantage down to just five, 92-87.
It proved to be just enough in finally scoring their breakthrough win in four games.
Perkins triggered a 7-0 spurt that restored order for Phoenix, draining a tough fadeaway jumper from the post against the shot clock. Back-to-back triples from Jazul and Manganti brought back their double-digit lead for good.
Perkins unloaded nine of his 26 points in the final period to help Phoenix fend off NorthPort which battled back from a huge 27-point lead in the third quarter. Du’Vaughn Maxwell also bounced back from a dismal performance last time out with a double-double of 26 points and 11 rebounds.
“You give credit to the players for staying positive and all the coaches kasi yung first two games we had the chance to win that but we stayed positive and we kept working hard so we got the win. Hopefully it will be a good winning streak coming into our next game,” said Phoenix coach Jamike Jarin.
That optimism indeed showed on the floor as despite being on the receiving end of a huge mauling from San Miguel Beer just two nights ago, Phoenix went off and established an 84-57 lead following splendid middle quarters spearheaded by Maxwell.
Kent Salado, Art Dela Cruz and Marcus Weathers though willed NorthPort back into the game and looked poised to complete the huge comeback if not for the huge baskets from Phoenix veterans.
Weathers poised the Batang Pier with 31 points while Salado and Dela Cruz provided a huge spark off the bench to finish with 15 and 12 points respectively. The effort however proved to be futile in the end as NorthPort remained winless in four games.