Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters is a win away from booking their first-ever ticket to the PBA Philippine Cup Finals after defeating the third-seeded TNT Tropang Giga on Sunday, 92-89, at the AUF Sports Arena and Cultural Center in Angeles City, Pampanga
With a still aching ankle, an injury he acquired during the debut match of their best-of-five semifinals series against the Bong Ravena-head-coached TNT, Matthew Wright step up, played 33 minutes, made 10 of 19 shots to finish with 25 points, and drilled a winning dagger jumper with 22 seconds left on the clock to give Fuel Masters a 2-1 edge in their best-of-five semifinals series against the Tropang Giga.
“There’s really no secret. I just really had to man up and play through the pain, play through the limited mobility. Thank God that they won Game 2 without me, even though I tried to play as much as I could. But that just shows how much trust that our team has within each other,” Wright said.
“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,” added Wright.
In an interview, Phoenix Super LPG head coach Topex Robinson reiterated that as a team, his ward all acknowledged that they were tired and hurting.
“By saying that, we’re eliminating any excuses. So, acknowledge it and let it go. Because again, you never know when you’re gonna get this chance again,” said Robinson.
“Just like what we mentioned at the start of the conference, we just wanna be the best versions of ourselves. And no matter what the game is, it’s always about again, just trying to enjoy it,” Robinson added.
It was a total team effort anew that gave the Fuel Masters the win. Calvin Abueva scored 24 points, 14 rebounds, and six assists, while Jason Perkins chipped in 11 points. Similarly, RJ Jazul scored 11 points.
Phoenix took a 47-32 advantage in bench points.
Bobby Ray Parks Jr., who scored a career-high 41 points, again led Tropang Giga with 19 points on top of 13 rebounds and six dimes, while Simon Enciso added 16 markers. Troy Rosario contributed 14 points and seven rebounds.
TNT Tropang Giga vs Phoenix
Quarters: 22-24; 49-47; 73-69; 92-89.
Tropang Giga (89) – Parks 19, Enciso 16, Rosario 14 , Castro 12, Pogoy 8, Reyes 5, Erram 6, Montalbo 6, Washington 3, Carey 0.
Phoenix (92) – Wright 25, Abueva 24, Jazul 11, Perkins 11, Chua 8, Intal 5, Napoles 3, Rios 3, Mallari 2, Garcia 0, Marcelo 0, Heruela 0, Gamboa 0.