Phoenix outguns Meralco in wild last-minute shootout
Paul Lintag on Dec 21, 2016 06:41 PM
WRIGHT STUFF. Rookie Matthew Wright provided the goods as Phoenix arrests a two-game skid.
In one of the wilder last two minutes of this season's Philippine Cup, Phoenix was able to rise from back-to-back blowouts to finally get back on the winning track.
The Fuel Masters engaged the Meralco Bolts in a fierce shootout late before pulling off a hard-fought 94-90 victory Wednesday at the San Juan Arena.
Up by one, 85-84, in the last two minutes, Phoenix saw Reynel Hugnatan drain a booming three to give Meralco the lead, 87-85.
However, rookie Matthew Wright stepped up to plate and made a three of his own in response just 20 seconds later for a one-point advantage. Fellow rookie Jonathan Grey would not be left behind, giving the Bolts their final taste of the lead with a corner trey, 90-88, with 1:26 left.
The last triple of the game came from veteran Cyrus Baguio as the former PBA champion proved his credentials and lifted Phoenix anew, 91-90. Wright later iced the win with three free throws in the last 27 seconds.
"I'm just relieved. We lost the last 2 games by 31 points on average, and you know, it was like sleepless nights for all of us," head coach Ariel Vanguardia said.
"But I just challenged the guys that, halfway point, we played our fifth game and we're 2-3, there's a lot to be thankful for. 2-3, we're not out. The way we're playing the last two games, we should have been 0-5, so let's be thankful we're 2-3," he added.
Playing their "first" game, the Fuel Masters sparked a late rally to start their six-game conference at 1-0. Down by 12 in the third quarter, Phoenix unloaded an 11-0 run to take control in the fourth period, 76-75.
Wright finished with a team and career-high 22 points, 17 in the fourth, and added eight rebounds, two assists, and three steals for Phoenix as the Fuel Masters moved up to 3-3.
Mark Borboran scored 17 points while Baguio and Gelo Alolino chipped in 11 apiece.
Grey also dropped a career-best 24 with 20 coming in the second half off the bench for Meralco who now lost back-to-back games for a 2-3 mark Reynel Hugnatan ended up with 15.
PHOENIX 94 - Wright 22, Borboran 17, Baguio 11, Alolino 11, Enciso 7, J.Wilson 7, Torres 6, Caperal 5, Hayes 4, Lanete 4, Javillonar 0, Miranda 0.
MERALCO 90 - Grey 24, Hugatan 15, Hodge 12, Daquioag 11, Yeo 9, Amer 7, Nabong 4, Newsome 2, Al-Hussaini 2, Caram 2, Chua 2, Uyloan 0.
Quarterscores: 22-19, 45-44, 65-75, 94-90
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