|Matt Wright stole the win for Phoenix. PBA Media Bureau|
By Ivan Saldajeno
BINAN- Matt Wright scored the go-ahead four-point swing as Phoenix handed Magnolia a loss in its return to play via an 89-87 victory in the mid-season Commissioner's Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay on Sunday night.
Wright scored the go-ahead three-pointer with 2.3 seconds left, while a late drama led to him making a free throw for the final tally as the Fuel Masters scored their second win in the conference in comeback fashion.
Banked on its trademark defense-oriented system, Magnolia limited Phoenix to just 35 first half while opening a lead as high as 16, 62-46, midway through the third quarter.
However, the Fuel Masters came alive late in the fourth quarter, going on a 10-0 run to go up, 85-84, with 2:02 left.
Ian Sangalang scored a basket to put the Hotshots back up, 86-85, with 1:47 remaining while rendering the Fuel Masters scoreless for a 1:45 span.
Paul Lee, however, failed to give Magnolia a more comfortable margin as he only made a split from the line with 15 seconds left, opening a chance for Wright to steal the win with his right wing triple.
Moments later, a miscommunication between Coach Chito Victolero, whose team has no more timeout left, and the table officials led to a technical foul given to him for excessive timeouts, leading to Wright sinking the technical free throw.
PJ Simon tried to steal the win for the Hotshots, but he missed the potential game-winning trey as time expired.
Wright was actually sluggish from beyond the arc, only making one of his first five attempts from long range, but his last shot from deep mattered as Phoenix moved to a tie with GlobalPort, Alaska, and Meralco for third place. He and James White each finished with 19 points.
Vernon Macklin returned to the PBA with 25 points, 17 rebounds, and three assists.