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Phoenix pulls early upset against SMB

By Ivan Saldajeno

ANTIPOLO—Phoenix recovered in time to complete a 92-85 stunner against San Miguel in the nightcap of the PBA Philippine Cup doubleheader at the Ynares Center Wednesday.

Behind a hot third quarter shooting from Simon Enciso, the Fuel Masters opened a 17-point cushion, 75-58, late in the period.

But June Mar Fajardo led a 21-8 Beermen assault in the fourth quarter to cut the lead down to one, 85-84, with 1:52 remaining.

The reigning MVP actually has a chance to tie the game as he was fouled by Prince Caperal after converting a layup, but he missed the ensuing free throw.

That turned out to be costly as JC Intal nailed five unanswered points to extend Phoenix's lead to six, 90-84, with 44.9 seconds remaining.

The game became interesting anew with 18.7 seconds left as Alex Cabagnot was fouled while taking a three-pointer, but he made only one of three free throws and Caperal iced the game with a jumper in the next play.

"Honestly, I'm not expecting na [mananalo kami] because we're playing the defending champions. I just told the guys, 'Let's just play better [than] the way we played against Blackwater, and I'll be happy.' Ayun, napatunayan namin sa isa't isa na we can compete with this team," said Phoenix coach Ariel Vanguardia after the game.

Intal, in a rare stint off the bench, led the Fuel Masters with 22 points, four rebounds, one assist, one steal, and one block, while Enciso came close to a triple-double with 15 points, seven rebounds, and nine assists.

Fajardo had 19 points and 23 rebounds to lead the way for the Beermen.

Box Scores:

Phoenix 92-Intal 22, Enciso 15, Wright 14, Alolino 13, Caperal 10, W. Wilson 6, Lanete 4, Torres 4, Baguio 2, Hayes 2, Borboran 0, J. Wilson 0

San Miguel 85-Fajardo 19, Cabagnot 16, Espinas 12, Lassiter 12, Santos 10, Garcia 9, Ross 4, Reyes 3, Agovida 0, Semerad 0, Tubid 0

Quarterscores: 26-15, 49-35, 77-63, 92-85

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