Fuel Masters punch playoff ticket after beating Ginebra
Paul Lintag on Jan 22, 2017 09:48 PM
Willy Wilson ended up with a double-double for Phoenix as the Fuel Masters will now make their trip to the quarterfinals for the second straight conference.
With Ginebra's twin towers out of commission, Phoenix took advantage of the opportunity and punched its ticket to the quarterfinals of the 2017 PBA Philippine Cup.
Dragged to a low-scoring affair, the Fuel Masters had more than enough in a 79-73 decision Sunday at the PhilSports Arena.
Taking over solo second with a 6-4 mark, Phoenix is now assured of making the playoffs for the second straight conference in the PBA.
The Fuel Masters are also now half a game ahead of four other teams in the race for the last twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals.
Rookie and Gilas Pilipinas cadet Matthew Wright had another brilliant all-around game for Phoenix, scoring 18 points, grabbing five rebounds, and dishing out five assists in the win.
More importantly, his booming trey with less than two minutes to go was the final dagger to the heart of Ginebra as Phoenix took a rather safe 79-69 lead.
"This is our third time to have a shot at being no. 2. The first one was a 44-point loss [to Star], the next one was a 15-point loss to ROS. I told them let's try to win quarters, were facing a champion team. We were happy with our effort," head coach Ariel Vanguardia said.
Aside from Wright, JC Intal and Willy Wilson also had big games for Phoenix as both finished with double-doubles. Intal dropped 16 points and 10 rebounds while Wilson added another 10 markers and 12 boards.
Simon Enciso chipped in 11 for the Fuel Masters.
With Ginebra missing both Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar, Phoenix was able to take advantage of the Gin Kings, controlling the game right from the start.
The Fuel Masters were able to take a lead as much as 12 points which they protected throughout the wire-to-wire victory.
LA Tenorio led the way for the now 5-5 Gin Kings with 15 points but he only shot 33 percent from the field.
Mark Caguioa also scored 15 while playing off the bench.
PHOENIX 79 - Wright 18, Intal 16, Enciso 11, W. Wilson 10, J. wilson 8, Lanete 5, Torres 5, Baguio 3, Borboran 2, Miranda 1, Caperal 0, Alolino 0.
GINEBRA 73 - Tenorio 15, Caguioa 15, Thompson 10, Marcelo 10, Devance 8, Ferrer 7, Mercado 3, Cruz 3, Ellis 2, Taha 0, Helterbrand 0.
Quarterscores: 17-10, 38-26, 57-47, 79-73
Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8