PBA: Phoenix stuns Ginebra for 5th straight win
MANILA, Philippines–Phoenix Super LPG used a stingy defense and then played with steely nerves in the final moments to stun defending champion Barangay Ginebra, 82-77, in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Saturday night.
Rookie Kenneth Tuffin hit a triple to carve out some breathing room with 2:40 left Johnathan Williams III delivered the finishing blows from the charity stripe to help the Fuel Masters run away with a big win at the FPJ Arena in San Jose City, Batangas.
Tuffin, who played three years of pro ball in New Zealand before entering the PBA, finished with 18 points to backstop Williams III who delivered 24 points and 23 rebounds–both game-highs.
The win was Phoenix’s fifth-straight in the conference for a 6-1 record–just half a game behind unbeaten Magnolia.
The Fuel Masters trailed behind by nine points in the third frame, but eventual heroes Tuffin and Williams III kept the game from turning into a blowout. A pair of triples from Jjay Alejandro and Tyler Tio tied the game at 66-all early into the fourth, setting up a fightback anchored on more three-pointers.
Gin Kings import Tony Bishop Jr. had 21 points and 15 rebounds, while Jamie Malonzo chipped in 20 and 10. Christian Standhardinger toiled his way to 12 points and four rebounds as the crowd darlings struggled without former Most Valuable Player Scottie Thompson who remained sidelined by a leg problem.
Ginebra battles San Miguel Beer next in a Dec. 15 contest that will be missed by reigning MVP June Mar Fajardo, who continues to recover from a left hand fracture.
Phoenix will get to enjoy 11 days of rest before taking on dangerous NorthPort on Dec. 20.