JC Intal of Phoenix (left) and Chris Ross of San Miguel dispute ball possession.
Jun Mendoza
Phoenix refuels, cuts SMB lead
Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - April 22, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Phoenix rose from the ashes on Easter Sunday, breaking through with a thrilling 92-90 victory over San Miguel to cut the Beermen’s lead to 2-1 in the PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Matthew Wright, who’s been suffering from mild bronchitis the past few days, struck hard in the clutch and calmly knocked down six huge freebies to provide the cushion for the triumph that brought the Fuel Masters back to life after a 0-2 start in the highly-physical series.

“He’s been sick the past three days but he really wanted to play and help the team win,” said Phoenix coach Louie Alas of Wright, who dropped 12 of his 18 markers in the fourth and shared scoring honors with Calvin Abueva.

The Fuel Masters kept in step with the Beermen, who played without Game 2 hero Marcio Lassiter (back pain), and even enjoyed an 84-79 upperhand. San Miguel mounted a furious fightback and wrested the lead at 86-84 before Wright delivered from the stripe and handed them a 92-88 margin with 21.1 seconds left.

“This is basically the same situation in Game Two except that we didn’t close that one out. We learned a bit from what happened that time,” said Alas, whose team bucked the ejection of big man Dave Marcelo for his hit on Christian Standhardinger’s face in the first half.

Denied the last time, Rain or Shine takes another crack at a pivotal third win against a rejuvenated Magnolia side out to bring it all back to square one in tonight’s Game 4 at the Big Dome.

The Elasto Painters took the first two games of the best-of-seven series before the Hotshots pulled one back and now threaten to reduce the affair to a race-to-two.

“We’re still up in the series, 2-1, and I think we just have to learn from our Game 3 loss. But I still remain confident we’re going to bounce back,” said RoS coach Caloy Garcia.

The scores:

Phoenix 92 – Abueva 18, Wright 18, Chua 15, Jazul 14, Perkins 8, Intal 8, Kramer 5, Revilla 4, Mallari 2, Napoles 0, Mendoza 0, Dennison 0, Guevarra 0.

San Miguel 90 – Fajardo 22, Cabagnot 18, Romeo 16, Standhardinger 16, Ross 8, Pessumal 3, Santos 3, Rosser 2, Nabong 2, Zamar 0, Tubid 0.

Quarterscores: 21-19, 40-36, 64-66, 92-90

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