Phoenix rising
Phoenix hotshot Matthew Wright sizes up the defense of TNT center Poy Erram.
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Phoenix rising

(The Philippine Star) - November 23, 2020 - 12:00am

Wright Bucks injury, makes difference                          

SMART CLARK GIGA CITY, Philippines — Matthew Wright demanded his usual minutes despite a bum ankle and Phoenix coach Topex Robinson obliged.

Right move.

Shrugging off pain, Wright erupted for 25 highlighted by a dagger jumper with 22.6 seconds left as the Fuel Masters secured a 92-89 victory and moved to the threshold of the PBA Philippine Cup finals yesterday at the AUF Sports Arena Powered by Smart 5G.

Wright, who was forced to see limited action in the first two games after spraining his right ankle in the semis opener, returned to his fiery self and fired nine in the stretch as Phoenix took a 2-1 lead in the race-to-three semis.

The Fuel Masters can collar their first championship stint in franchise history by finishing off the embattled Tropang Giga on Wednesday.

“I just really had to man up and play through pain, play through limited mobility,” said Wright who shot five three-pointers in 33 minutes of play.

Wright had a six-minute outing in the team’s 92-95 Game One loss then returned for only 15 minutes in Game Two but inspired his teammates to a 110-103 series equalizer.

“It’s still a little painful. It’s throbbing but I’m glad we have three days before the next game,” said Wright.

Calvin Abueva also contributed immensely with 24 markers, 14 rebounds, six assists, four steals and one block while Jason Perkins chipped in 11, including a clutch putback in the last minute.

With Stanley Pringle as spearhead, Barangay Ginebra got on the hill after taking Win No. 2 in its side of the semis versus Meralco, 91-84.

Stymied in the team’s previous 77-95 setback, Pringle reasserted himself and churned in an error-free 24-9-6 outing to help the Gin Kings bounce back and close in on the Last Dance.

Ginebra rattled up 18 unanswered points in a key six-minute stretch in the first to seize control, 22-5, and kept the Bolts at bay all the way through.

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