Ginebra, Phoenix on verge of PBA finals

Emmanuel B. Villaruel (The Freeman) - November 24, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  The Barangay Ginebra Kings and the Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters pushed themselves on the verge of a championship showdown after taking crucial 2-1 leads in the best-of-five PBA Philippine Cup semifinals over  the weekend at the AUF Sports Arena in Angeles City, Pampanga.

Behind the 24-point explosion of Stanley Pringle spiced up with nine rebounds and six assists, the Kings zapped the Meralco Bolts in Game 3, 91-84, to move a game away from the finals.

Several other Ginebra players stepped up bigtime, with Prince Caperal, Japeth Aguilar, LA Tenonio and Joe Devance conniving for 49 points for the Kings, who at one point surged ahead by 25 points.

The Bolts pulled within just a single digit but the Kings practically put the victory in their bag with an 86-76 edge with a little over a minute left to play.

Like the Kings, the Fuel Masters also barreled into the threshold of the bubble finals after eking out a 92-89 decision over the TNT Tropang Giga in the third game of their own race-to-3 duel,

Despite being bothered by a sprained ankle he sustained in their 92-95 loss during the series opener, top MVP contender Matthew Wright gamely rose to the occasion by banging in 25 points.

Wright punctuated his game-long brilliance with a booming tripe in the final 23 seconds of the contest that turned out to be the game-clincher.

“I’m playing through the pain, playing with limited mobility,” admitted Wright in a report by PBA.ph. “Four days after spraining my ankle it’s still really painful, it’s throbbing right now. I’m glad we have two days rest before the next game.”

Wright was ably backed up by Calvin Abueva, who scattered 24 points, 14 rebounds and six assists in another all-around hardcourt performance that spelled big difference for the Fuel Masters.

The Tropang Giga actually had several chances to knot the count and forge an overtime but Cebuano guard Roger Pogoy and TNT’s veteran talisman Jayson Castro misfired their targets.

Phoenix and Ginebra could close out their respective foes and set up a best-of-seven title clash with another victory in Game 4 slated on Wednesday.

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