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Sports

Fuel Masters repel Bolts, seal semis duel vs Hotshots

Ralph Edwin Villanueva - Philstar.com
Fuel Masters repel Bolts, seal semis duel vs Hotshots
Jason Perkins (3) came up big for the Phoenix Fuel Masters.
PBA Images

MANILA, Philippines -- No comeback this time.

The Phoenix Fuel Masters are going to the PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals after turning back a furious comeback by the Meralco Bolts, 88-84, Sunday night at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

Phoenix led by as much as 18 points, 74-56, with two minutes remaining in the third quarter following a 3-pointer by Jjay Alejandro.

And, just like in Game 1, the Bolts slowly nipped the lead away.

Meralco unleashed a 17-4 run that extended to the 8:21 mark of the fourth quarter as they cut the lead to four, 73-77, with an and-one play by Cliff Hodge.

Jason Perkins then hit a layup to halt the run.

After a pair of free throws by Shonn Miller to cut the lead anew to four, 75-79, the Fuel Masters unleashed a mini 6-2 blitz to extend the lead to eight, 85-77.

Four straight points towed the Bolts to within four once again, 85-81, capped by a layup by Hodge.

After a split from the line by Johnathan Williams III, Meralco’s Chris Newsome tried to bait for a foul from the 3-point area.

His shot, however, missed everything as the ball sailed out of bounds.

A pair of freebies by Perkins iced the game, 88-81.

Meralco guard Allein Maliksi hit a 3-pointer on the other end, but it came just a tad too late.

In Game 1, the Fuel Masters held a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter, but it slowly dissolved and they lost the game in three overtime periods.

Phoenix started the game waxing hot, taking a 15-point lead, 53-38, as early as the second quarter.

The Fuel Masters maintained the lead for the majority of the way, but the Bolts inched closer as they cut the lead to single digit in the final canto.

Williams led the Fuel Masters with a big double-double of 21 points, 16 rebounds and two assists. 

Perkins added 19 points and 13 boards. 

Maliksi and Newsome led the Bolts with 15 markers apiece. 

Miller was limited to just 12 points, 12 boards and six dimes. He made just five of his 14 field goal attempts. 

“We’re a young team. We’re allowed to make mistakes. One is enough, two is too much, three cannot be. We live by that,” Phoenix head coach Jamike Jarin told reporters after the game.

“The fairy tale continues,” he added.

Phoenix will be facing the top-seeded Magnolia Hotshots in the semifinals.
They will be starting the best-of-five semis on Wednesday, 4 p.m., at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

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BASKETBALL

MERALCO BOLTS

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PHOENIX FUEL MASTERS

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