THE Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters remained unbeaten in the PBA Philippine Cup, winning their second straight game by way of a 110-105 victory over the Northport Batang Pier on Thursday at the Angeles University Foundation gym in Pampanga.
Jason Perkins showed the way for the Fuel Masters as they outlasted the Batang Pier in a competitively fought Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) match.
The loss, meanwhile, sent Northport to its second defeat in as many games.
The contest got off to a tight start with no teams budging.
Northport got early traction, led by Christian Standhardinger and Sean Anthony, building an 18-13 lead in the first nine minutes.
But Phoenix finished the quarter strong, outscoring the Batang Pier, 10-5, to level the count at 23-all at the end of the opening quarter.
In the second period, it was Mr. Perkins and the Fuel Masters who had the wind at the get-go, racing to a 40-33 advantage midway into the frame.
The Batang Pier though charged back, coming to within one point, 42-41, after a minute.
The back-and-forth continued thereafter before the Fuel Masters settled for a 55-51 advantage at the halfway point of the match.
Northport tried to get going anew at the start of the third canto, but Phoenix was firm in fending off the former.
The Fuel Masters remained ahead entering the payoff period, 83-77.
Still within striking distance, the Batang Pier made a quick charge to begin the fourth quarter.
They opened things with a 9-2 run to overtake the Fuel Masters, 86-85, by the 8:50 mark.
Mr. Perkins, however, gave the lead back to Phoenix, 88-86, with a triple 20 seconds later.
The Fuel Masters continued to hold sway, 95-88, with five minutes to go in the game clock.
Northport tried to stay in the game after only to find a Phoenix crew unrelenting in its push.
The score was at 103-97 with two minutes left.
Mr. Standhardinger further narrowed it, 103-99, but a triple by Matthew Wright with 56 seconds remaining extended the lead to seven points, 106-99, for the Fuel Masters.
The Batang Pier managed to cut their deficit to two points, 106-104, with 13 seconds to go after a Kevin Ferrer three-pointer.
But that was the closest they would get as Phoenix went for the closeout.
Mr. Perkins had a PBA career-high 31 points to go along with 12 rebounds in the win.
Mr. Wright finished with 23 points, nine assists and seven rebounds while Justin Chua had 17 markers for Phoenix (2-0).
Mr. Standhardinger had 28 points while Mr. Anthony had a triple-double of 23 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists for Northport (0-2).
Meanwhile, the Games and Amusements Board said currently suspended Phoenix player Calvin Abueva has completed the requirements needed for the reinstatement of his professional license, paving the way for a possible return to playing in the PBA.
Mr. Abueva was suspended by the league in July last year for conduct unbecoming of a professional and actions detrimental to the league. – Michael Angelo S. Murillo