Wright goes clutch as Fuel Masters sneak past Gins in 2OT

Wright goes clutch as Fuel Masters sneak past Gins in 2OT

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. 

The Scores: 

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. 

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