Phoenix clinches No. 2 spot, downs Blackwater behind Abueva, Wright
Phoenix flaunts a prolific import in Eugene Phelps but it was the Fuel Masters’ star locals who led the way in a crucial game on Sunday.
Calvin Abueva and Matthew Wright scored 10 points each in the fourth quarter as Phoenix fended off Blackwater, 97-91, to clinch the No. 2 spot heading into the 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup quarterfinals.
“I told them during the halftime break that you have to take pride with your defense,” Phoenix head coach Louie Alas said. “It was all about the defense.”
The Fuel Masters, who will own twice-to-beat advantage in the quarters, made crucial stops and big shots late courtesy of Abueva and Wright.
Abueva was all over the floor and finished with a game-high 25 points that went with eight rebounds and a steal in just less than 22 minutes of action.
He also hit two free throws to put the game out of reach with 10.5 ticks to go.
Wright had 23 points, including a heavily-contested step back jumper from the left corner that put the Fuel Masters ahead, 95-89, with 41.5 seconds remaining. The Fil-Canadian sniper also collected seven rebounds and five assists.
Blackwater blew its chance to nail a twice-to-beat edge after squandering a nine-point lead in the third quarter. Instead, the fifth-seeded Elite will play the Magnolia Hotshots, who will have the twice-to-beat.
Henry Walker had 21 points and 12 rebounds for Blackwater, which lost key player Mike DiGregorio at the 6:07 mark of the second quarter.
DiGregorio got ejected after being slapped with a flagrant foul penalty 2 for throwing the ball at Phelps.
Phelps had 16 points, 19 rebounds and five assists.