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Phoenix escapes Pringle-less NorthPort in dramatic finale

Both Sean Anthony and Matt Wright were called for offensive fouls that sent them off the game, but the one against the former turned out to be costlier—and maybe more intriguing. PBA Media Group
By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY—Jason Perkins scored the winning free throws as Phoenix beat NorthPort, 98-96, in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday night.

Perkins' charities capped a dramatic finish as the Fuel Masters left the Batang Pier reeling from the one-game suspension of Stanley Pringle and a crucial turnover that could become controversial.

With the game tied, 96-all, Sean Anthony appeared to have given NorthPort the lead with a triple against Justin Chua with 47 seconds remaining.

But the referees nullified the three-point shot and called an offensive foul on Anthony as they thought he hit Chua in the head just as he released the ball.

The team got the ball back as Matt Wright was called for his own offensive foul for pulling Ryan Araña's jersey while getting past him.

Araña, however, missed a corner trey and fouled Perkins while he was driving to the hoop, leading to the marginal free throws with seven seconds remaining.

Robert Bolick nearly salvaged the Batang Pier's cause following uncertainties in their final play as his long triple had a good line, but the ball just rimmed out as time expired.

Wright put up 22 points, three rebounds, five assists, and one steal for the Fuel Masters, who moved up to 6-1 in the standings.

Chua added 19 points, nine rebounds, three assists, one block, and one steal off the bench.

Mo Tautuaa had a brilliant all-around game of 22 points, eight caroms, seven dimes, and one block for the Batang Pier, who dropped to 2-3.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno