PBA: Phoenix survives TNT in OT for early lead at 2-0
ANTIPOLO — Phoenix Pulse shored up its drive for a lofty standing in the Philippine Cup after turning back TNT in overtime, 93-84, in the cardiac nightcap of Saturday’s PBA Philippine Cup action at Ynares Center here.
Matthew Wright led the way for the FuelMasters with 23 points to go with the double-double of last season’s Rookie of the Year Jason Perkins who registered 11 points and 15 rebounds.
Two more members of Louie Alas-mentored squad tossed in double-digit contributions—Alex Mallari had 15 while Calvin Abueva 14—to add to TNT’s woes and spoil Roger Pogoy’s career performance.
“Two OTs in two games,” said Louie Alas as he heaved a sigh of relief. “But more than the win, [I’m happy] with the experience to play a close game.”
“Last conference, we lose in such games. This affords very, very good experience to us,” he added.
Pogoy paced TNT with 30 markers and 12 boards as veteran Jayson Castro chimed in 18 points to keep Phoenix within striking range.
Michael Miranda had a chance to win it for KaTropa in regulation, but his wide-open triple from the right side was just a tad too strong.
The Fuel Masters to be on a roll against teams that denied them a playoff runs in 2018. They handed Meralco, their tormentors in the Governors Cup quarterfinals last year, a heart-breaking loss in the opening week before frustrating the KaTropa, who knocked them out of playoff contention in the all-Filipino contest.
The FuelMasters now sit atop of the conference with a 2-0 card, but Alas prefers not to get too high on the pair of victories.
“We’re very happy with this win, but if we go 3-0, I think we’ll be happier since our upcoming assignment is coming off a great win,” he said.
Phoenix will try to notch a third win at the expense of Columbian, which opened its conference with a stunning win over San Miguel Beer on Friday, this coming Wednesday at the Big Dome.
TNT moves on to face sister team NLEX on the same playdate in a battle of winless squads.
“We’re supposed to practice on Sunday but I’m calling it off. They deserve to rest,” Alas closed.
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