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Phoenix withstands late GlobalPort run to bolster QF bid

Matt Wright quickly sizzled for Phoenix. PBA Media Bureau
By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY--It may not be the way the team wanted, but Phoenix still put itself in a good shot for a quarterfinal spot.

The Fuel Masters withstood a huge rally by the GlobalPort Batang Pier to take a 104-100 win in their PBA Philippine Cup clash at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Friday night.

Needing a blowout win to make the next round outright, Phoenix raced to a 31-point lead, 66-35, early in the third quarter as Matt Wright returned to the team with a bang through a 22-point first half.

Add to GlobalPort's early woes was the ejection of Kelly Nabong following a spat with the referees and even Coach Louie Alas.

But Sean Anthony and Yousef Taha came alive later in the second half as the lead was chopped to as low as four, 98-102, with 26.3 seconds left.

However, Taha was called for a crucial foul on Jeff Chan, and Chan hit 1-for-2 from the charity stripe to stretch the gap to five, 103-98, with 22.1 seconds remaining.

The Batang Pier had a chance to inch closer, but they missed on three consecutive shots inside the shaded lane and RJ Jazul sealed the win with a split of his own from the foul line.

Wright finished with 32 points, five rebounds, six assists, and one steal, while Chan came up with 18 points, five rebounds, and five assists for Phoenix, which will now hope for a win by Rain Or Shine over Ginebra in the final game of the elimination round later Friday to make the quarterfinals outright.

Terrence Romeo made his season debut and tallied 20 points, two rebounds, one assist, and one steal for GlobalPort, which, despite the loss, will still enter the quarterfinal phase.

However, the team should hope as well that ROS beats Ginebra to enter the best-of-three side of the next round.

The scores:

Phoenix 104-Wright 32, Chan 18, Alolino 10, Jazul 10, Wilson 9, Kramer 8, Perkins 7, Eriobu 4, Mendoza 4, Intal 2, Cortes 0, Guevarra 0

GlobalPort 100-Romeo 20, Anthony 17, Pringle 16, Taha 12, Elorde 12, Grey 9, Gabayni 7, Guinto 6, Flores 1, Sargent 0, Juico 0, Teng 0, Nabong 0

Quarterscores: 32-16, 63-35, 86-67, 104-100

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno