Phoenix completed its comeback from a 17-point deficit in stunning fashion to edge Magnolia, 89-87, and grab its eight win in the PBA Philippine Cup on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Calvin Abueva tallied 24 points, 13 rebounds, five assists and two steals, but it was Jason Perkins who saved the Fuel Masters in the clutch after knocking down a triple from the corner with 19 seconds left.
That trey cancelled out a huge three-point play from Paul Lee in a prior possession that put the Hotshots up by 87-85 with 32 seconds remaining.
A turnover by Lee after that Perkins trey and a split at the line by the Rookie of the Year awardee then gave Phoenix the cushion that it needed in the final seconds before Lee missed on a late game-winner heave.
“Sinabi ko na ‘to dati na eto ‘yung gustong-gusto namin na panalo, ‘yung may character,” head coach Louie Alas said. “Paul Lee being Paul Lee kahit dalawa na ‘yung tao talagang sshoot eh. But the good thing there is ‘di kami nag-panic. They were able to execute the play na dinraw namin. I guess sana ‘yung character namin ma-sustain.”
Phoenix saw itself staring at a 41-24 hole n the second quarter after an Ian Sangalang lay-in buried them there with 5:31 left in the first half.
They then outscored Magnolia 15-3 the rest of the second period and entered halftime down by just six, 39-44.
Tonight’s win is Phoenix’s eighth in nine games. Magnolia, meanwhile, slid to 1-4 in the conference.
Lee paced the Hotshots with 16 points, but he had more turnovers (seven) than assists (three) and shot just 4-for-11 from the field. Marc Barroca scored 16, too.
RJ Jazul also added 19 points for Phoenix.
PHOENIX (89) – Abueva 24, Jazul 19, Wright 14, Perkins 12, Mallari 8, Chua 6, Kramer 4, Dennison 2, Gamboa 0, Revilla 0, Intal 0, Napoles 0, Mendoza 0, Marcelo 0, Guevarra 0.
MAGNOLIA (87) – Lee 16, Barroca 16, Jalalon 11, Sangalang 10, Dela Rosa 10, Reavis 7, Brondial 6, Gamalinda 4, Ramos 3, Melton 2, Herndon 2, Simon 0, Calisaan 0, Abundo 0, Pascual 0.