PBA: Phoenix books playoff spot, rallies past Blackwater
MANILA, Philippines — Phoenix secured a spot in the quarterfinals after rallying past Blackwater, 100-95, in the PBA Philippine Cup Monday at AUF Sports Arena & Cultural Center in Angeles, Pampanga.
Calvin Abueva had his fingerprints all over the Fuel Masters’ seventh win, collecting 17 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists with two steals and two blocks to boot.
“We don’t want to waste our opportunity to be in the top four that’s why we’re giving everything we have,” said Abueva in Filipino as Phoenix joined Ginebra and TNT in first place with similar 7-3 slates.
The Fuel Masters needed to overcome a 16-point deficit in the third quarter and it took them more than three quarters to get their first taste of the lead.
“We really struggled in the first half. We didn’t do anything, we didn’t have any communication. But the second half was different, we started communicating,” Abueva said.
A layup by Matthew Wright finally put Phoenix in the driver’s seat, 81-79, at the 7:51 mark of the final frame. The Fuel Masters stretched their lead to eight, 95-87, after a free throw by Jason Perkins with a minute remaining.
Perkins also racked up a double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds while Wright had 17 points.
Brian Heruela was a spark off the bench for Phoenix, winners of three in a row, with 15 points and seven rebounds.
Phoenix wraps up its campaign in the elimination round against the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters on Wednesday.
Niño Canaleta had 21 points for the also-ran Elite, who reeled to their seventh straight loss.