This close game finally goes the way of Phoenix.
The top-ranked Fuel Masters have risen on Easter Sunday, scoring a breakthrough 92-90 win against San Miguel Beer in the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals at the Big Dome.
In winning Game 3 of this best-of-7 showdown, Phoenix avoided a near-insurmountable hole and instead cut its series deficit in half, 1-2.
This was also the very first semis win for the Fuel Masters in franchise history.
“Buhay pa,” head coach Louie Alas said.
“Siguro yung bottomline lang ng winning is toughness di ba, so I guess we just have to keep doing that,” he added.
Matthew Wright was certainly tough for Phoenix late, sinking six key free throws to help hold off San Miguel Beer.
The Fuel Masters ended up needing all six of Wright’s free throws especially after JC Intal missed two of his own in Phoenix’s last offensive possession, allowing the Beermen one last chance to steal the win or force overtime.
Fortunately, Phoenix’s defense managed to hold as Chris Ross and Von Pessumal both missed hard shots at basket and the Fuel Masters finally won a game in this series.
Wright led Phoenix, scoring 18 points, 12 in the fourth quarter. Calvin Abueva also had 18 points to go along with 13 rebounds and five assists.
Justin Chua and RJ Jazul likewise finished in double figures, contributing 15 and 14 points respectively.
For the Beermen, five-time MVP June Mar Fajardo was good for 22 points and 19 rebounds in a losing effort. Christian Standhardinger also had a double-double with 16 points and 10 boards while Alex Cabagnot finished with 18 points.
Game 4 is on Tuesday at the Cuneta Astrodome.
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.
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