Phoenix pips NLEX in OT thriller


By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY--Phoenix subdued NLEX in a wild overtime finish, 95-91, in their PBA Governors' Cup clash at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Friday night.

The Fuel Masters actually had a chance to seal the win in regulation after storming back from a late four-point deficit, but it took some late blunders from the Road Warriors in the extra five minutes to finally escape with the win.

Phoenix trailed, 78-82, with 33.2 seconds remaining in regulation, but a quick jumper by Eugene Phelps and a triple from Cyrus Baguio off a steal from Sean Anthony put the team ahead, 83-82, with 14.5 seconds to go.

Henry Walker then was slapped with an offensive foul, giving Phoenix a chance to pull away for good.

Baguio, however, kept the window open for NLEX as he only made one of two free throws with 7.1 seconds left in regulation.

Kevin Alas then drove to the basket and nailed a layup with 1.7 seconds to go that eventually sent the game to overtime.

After a free throw by Walker, it was all Fuel Masters as they five straight points to take the lead for good, 89-85, with 1:21 left.

Then, the Road Warriors imploded in the dying moments.

With them trailing, 89-91, they had a chance to tie the game once more after forcing Willie Wilson to an mid-range jumper miss, but Alas was slapped with a loose ball foul in a rebounding sequence with Mark Borboran. Borboran made both his free throws to stretch the lead to four with 18.1 seconds to go.

Walker then scored on a one-hander in NLEX's next possession, but he was slapped with a technical foul for delay of game after throwing the ball to the baseline. Borboran returned to the foul line and made the technical free throw.

Phelps then sealed the victory with a split from the line, as Phoenix's defense smothered NLEX in the final play.

Phelps bucked an error-prone game as he made 29 points on 10-of-17 shooting, 26 rebounds, and two assists for the Fuel Masters.

Walker, who played through a banged-up body, led the Road Warriors with 23 points, 11 rebounds, three assists, and one steal, but he only made eight of 23 field goals.

Box Scores:

Phoenix 95 -Phelps 29, Baguio 10, Buenafe 9, W.Wilson 9, Urbiztondo 9, Enciso 5, Borboran 5, Cruz 5, Miranda 4, Lanete 4, Lee 2, Caperal 2, J. Wilson 2, Torres 0, Pennisi 0

NLEX 91-Walker 23, Alas 16, Taulava 12, Baracael 11, J. Villanueva 7, Monfort 6, E. Villanueva 5, Anthony 4, Lanete 3, Khobuntin 2, Akl 2

Quarterscores: 11-16, 33-39, 60-64, 84-84, 95-91

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