Phoenix turns back TNT

Jason Perkins and Phoenix claw their way past Mo Tautuaa and TNT.—SHERWIN VARDELEON

Phoenix Petroleum brought down another PBA Philippine Cup powerhouse on Wednesday night, but a bothersome concern has tempered coach Louie Alas’ celebratory mood.

“My main concern is that after winning big, our performance has the tendency to dip (in the next game),” Alas said after Doug Kramer hit the go-ahead one-handed jumper with three seconds left before helping seal a 74-72 win over TNT KaTropa with brilliant defense at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.

“After winning over (Barangay) Ginebra, we lost by 22 (points) to Alaska,” Alas went on, knowing fully well that his Fuel Masters, after rising to 4-4, cannot afford to take another loss with jockeying for a top six berth in the playoffs about to enter its most critical stages.

“And besides, Meralco is (our) next (opponent), and they need a win, which makes them very dangerous,” Alas said. “We need to be ready.”

Gunner Matthew Wright knotted the count at 72 with a triple and played perfect decoy before spotting Kramer for the winning basket as Phoenix dealt the Texters also their fourth loss in eight games to muddle up the standings further.

The Phoenix win took away TNT’s chances of landing a spot in the top two, leaving San Miguel Beer, Magnolia, Alaska and a long shot in Rain or Shine to slug it out with three weeks left in the elimination round.

Phoenix played catch-up practically all game, and despite their efforts, Alas is not about to give them a rest, even with the Meralco game scheduled on Wednesday next week.

“I gave them (a day’s) rest after the Ginebra win, and it didn’t work well,” he said.

There was also a scary moment with 11:36 left in the fourth, when TNT’s Troy Rosario took a horrific face-first fall after a pile-up play for a rebound. Rosario was taken out on a stretcher after being unintentionally undercut by rookie Jason Perkins while airborne.

In the second game, Scottie Thompson had 12 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists as Barangay Ginebra ripped KIA, 103-77, to also improve on its playoff position.

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