Matthew Wright woke up at the most crucial moment as Phoenix escapes Ginebra heading into the All-Star break.(Rick Johnsen Dela Cruz/ Dugout Philippines)
By Ricky Manliguis
MANILA—Matthew Wright went ballistic in the clutch as Phoenix Fuel pulled off a nail-biting 103-98 double-overtime win over Barangay Ginebra in the nightcap of Sunday action in the PBA Commissioner's Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
Almost blowing up a 16-point first-half advantage, the Fuel Masters were able to fend off the crowd darlings in two overtimes to chalk up its third win in five matches, many thanks to the end-game exploits of Wright.
After being held to just eight points in the first three quarters, the 6-foot-4 sniper fired 11 in the fourth and overtime periods, including back-to-back hits for a 99-94 cushion going into the final 3:49 of the second extension.
The Fil-Canadian finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds on 7-of-19 shooting. He also issued three assists and a steal in 44:23 of action.
Ginebra went to life after a tentative first half, outscoring Phoenix 55-29 capped by a Japeth Aguilar straight-away jumper with 9.1 seconds left to force the first overtime at 85-all.
Aguilar had another chance to win the ballgame in the first OT, but his lay-up went off to send the game into another five minutes.
Wright went down to work from there, following Jeff Chan's triple with an acrobatic lay-up and a jumper over the outstretched arms of Greg Slaughter. Back-to-back turnovers by Ginebra and another Aguilar miss proved costly, as Justin Chua and RJ Jazul poured in the final four points for the outcome.
Come-backing import Eugene Phelps bucked cramps to score a game-high 25 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists for Phoenix, while Chan also fired needed endgame hits for a conference-best 22 markers. Jazul and Jason Perkins were the other double-digit providers with 12 apiece.
Ginebra failed to follow up its masterful victory against cellar-dwellers Blackwater to fall to a 1-3 slate. Aguilar paced the squad with 22 points, while import Charles Garcia had another forgettable performance of 19 and 18 rebounds before fouling out at the 5:23 mark of the fourth.
PHOENIX FUEL 103 — Phelps 25, Chan 22, Wright 19, Jazul 12, Perkins 12, Kramer 4, Chua 4, Intal 3, Wilson 2, Revilla 0.
GINEBRA 98 — J. Aguilar 22, Garcia 19, Thompson 17, Slaughter 14, Devance 10, Tenorio 9, Mariano 2, Caguioa 0, Mariano 0.
Quarterscores: 21-16, 46-30, 64-62, 85-all, 92-all, 103-98.