PBA: Phoenix claims last playoff spot, escapes NorthPort
MANILA, Philippines—Matthew Wright converted a tough play in transition to lift Phoenix Super LPG to a gut-wrenching 101-98 victory over NorthPort that gave the Fuel Masters the last quarterfinal ticket in the PBA Governors’ Cup at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Frosty for most of Saturday night, Wright hit a layup and drew a foul on Batang Pier guard Robert Bolick to help Phoenix wrest the lead, 100-98 in the final 29 seconds of the contest while preserving what head coach Topex Robinson called a vintage performance from RR Garcia.
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Garcia fired 16 of his 19 points in the second half, spurring a Phoenix fightback that eventually wiped NorthPort’s 15-point cushion.
“That NorthPort team is really a contender. Hats off to coach Pido (Jarencio) and the rest of the guys, they really gave us a run for our money,” said Robinson.
“RR has been reliable for us, the opportunity for him to rise came and he just took advantage of it. I just saw vintage RR tonight,” he went on.
Phoenix lives on to play in another no-tomorrow game against top seed Magnolia, which will be enjoying twice-to-beat protection. The two clubs tangle Friday at 6 p.m. again at the Big Dome.
No. 2 NLEX and No. 7 Alaska take the lid off the quarterfinals this Wednesday, followed by No. 3 TNT and No. 6 Barangay Ginebra, the defending champion of this season-ending conference.