MANILA — Phoenix secured the last twice-to-beat advantage in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Governors’ Cup quarterfinals after beating Blackwater, 97-91, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City on Sunday night.
The Fuel Masters withstood a second quarter storm from the Elite as an LA Revilla long bomb to end the third sparked their final blow to even move up the team standings right on the final night of the eliminations.
Banking on its defense, Phoenix limited Blackwater to just 18 points in the first quarter.
But the Elite erupted for 30 second quarter points and took a 48-44 halftime lead, which they would stretch to seven midway through the third.
However, the Fuel Masters got their groove back later in the third as they ended the quarter on an 8-0 run capped by Revilla’s halfcourt heave at the buzzer to go up, 72-69.
They would then hold off the Elite in the final quarter, stretching their lead to as high as nine before withstanding their opponents’ last dash.
Calvin Abueva fired 25 points, while Matt Wright added 23 for Phoenix, which eventually took the second seed as it holds the quotient tiebreaker over Alaska and Magnolia.
Henry Walker made 21 markers, 12 rebounds, five dimes, three steals, and two blocks for Blackwater, which fell to the fifth seed, putting the squad in a twice-to-win disadvantage against Magnolia in the quarterfinals. PNA-northboundasia.com