|Matt Wright was brilliant as the Fuel Masters stopped the Batang Pier's hot run. PBA Images|
By Xy-Zha Cabanlong
MANILA - The Phoenix Fuel Masters handed the NorthPort Batang Pier their second loss in the PBA Commissioner's Cup and broke their 4-game winning streak with a 97-87 win on Wednesday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
Matthew Wright led the Fuel Masters to their third win as they took down the wall of the leading defensive team of the league.
Wright finished off with 28 points that goes along with 6 assists and 2 steals.
The game was dictated entirely by Phoenix as early as the first quarter with them opening the first nine minutes of the ball game in the driver's seat.
But back-to-back threes by Kevin Ferrer opened the doors for NorthPort to take the tempo of the game with 4:30 left in the quarter.
NorthPort then went to a 10-0 run with over two minutes left in the period and eventually seal the quarter off to a nine point advantage over the Fuel Masters, 28-19.
Phoenix avenged by making a 7-0 run at the start of the second quarter.
The team was then able to limit the Batang Pier to only 4 points early in the period compared to their 15, giving them a 6-point advantage in the game.
Phoenix went to the halftime break with them outscoring NorthPort; 24-11 to tally in a 4-point advantage, 43-39.
The third quarter opened with a back-to-back baskets from Robert Bolick that tied the game to 43-all.
But eventually, despite NorthPort outscoring Phoenix by a hair, 22-21, in the quarter, the Fuel Masters still had a three-point advantage as the third period ended.
The Fuel Masters continuously dominated the game in the fourth, leading as much as 12 points.
Proving that they won't back down easily, NorthPort, despite import Prince Ibeh fouling out, cut Phoenix's lead down to three, 84-81, with 2:32 left.
But despite the efforts to make an epic comeback, time had not been on the side of the Batang Pier as the outside shots of the Fuel Masters connected to seal the win
NorthPort slide down to 7-2 but still safely sitting at the second spot at the standings while Phoenix improved to a 3-4 slate.
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