Phoenix Pulse locked up the first seed and a twice-to-beat advantage in the PBA Philippine Cup after outlasting San Miguel, 96-93, Saturday in Panabo City, Davao del Norte.
Matthew Wright finished with 25 huge points and five rebounds, while Alex Mallari added 12 points, six rebounds and six assists as the Fuel Masters ended the elimination cup with a 9-2 win-loss record.
In need of a basket to end a two-minute drought that held both teams to a 90-all deadlock, Wright delivered with a booming triple to put pressure on the Beermen with 1:16 left in the game.
Jason Perkins later extended the lead to five with a tough jumper with 39 seconds to go, but they still had to weather some scary moments in the clutch to go home with the win.
Santos cut the lead to 93-95 after nailing a huge triple with 31 seconds on the clock, but an Alex Cabagnot turnover and a split at the line by Perkins dashed any hopes of them completing a comeback from 13 down.
San Miguel dropped to 6-4 and saw their four-game winning streak come to an end.
June Mar Fajardo led the Beermen with 29 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks, while Cabagnot added 17 points and five assists.
This is the Phoenix’s best elimination round finish in franchise history.
PHOENIX (96) – Wright 25, Mallari 12, Perkins 10, Kramer 9, Chua 9, Jazul 8, Dennison 7, Revilla 5, Mendoza 4, Abueva 4, Marcelo 3.
SAN MIGUEL (93) – Fajardo 29, Cabagnot 17, Romeo 15, Santos 14, Lassiter 7, Nabong 5, Ross 4, Pessumal 2, Mamaril 0, Tubid 0, Ganuelas-Rosser 0.