Phoenix rises to take 2nd seed in PBA playoffs

Jason Perkins put up a 30-point blast to catapult the Fuel Masters to the second seed. PBA Images
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Down by as much as 14 points, Phoenix seemed to be witnessing Rain Or Shine take the twice-to-beat advantage away from them in the last game of the PBA regular season.

But a huge comeback propelled the Fuel Masters to the quarterfinal bonus.

Phoenix rose just in time to seal the twice-to-beat edge in the next round through a 90-88 come-from-behind win over ROS at the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center on Wednesday night.

Down 66-80 with less than nine minutes left in the game, the Fuel Masters sparked their comeback with a 9-0 run that trimmed the lead down to just five, 80-75, with four and a half minutes left.

James Yap scored on his patented floater and a free throw to keep the Elasto Painters afloat, but RJ Jazul scored on a huge triple to draw the Fuel Masters to within two, 81-83, with 2:16 remaining.

Beau Belga made two free throws to up ROS's lead to four, but Phoenix responded with the game deciding 9-0 run to seal the win.

Elasto Painter Javee Mocon actually had a chance to possibly force overtime within the Fuel Masters' run, but he missed the potential equalizing triple, leading to Justin Chua's two free throws that secured their win.

Rey Nambatac scored on a buzzer-beating triple for the final scoreline.

Jason Perkins led Phoenix, which actually locked in the second seed after moving up to 8-3, with 30 points and eight rebounds.

Chua added a double-double of 21 points and 10 rebounds with one assist off the bench.

Phoenix will face seventh seed Magnolia, 95-80 winner over Blackwater earlier in the night, in the knockout stages.

Mocon and Jewel Ponferada each tallied 13 points for ROS, which slipped to the eighth seed--and a quarterfinal date with top seed Ginebra.

The result catapulted San Miguel to the fourth seed, getting the twice-to-beat incentive against fifth seed Meralco, which also won earlier Wednesday against NorthPort.

[Related Story: Meralco gets boost entering playoffs with win over NorthPort]

The other quarterfinal pairing will see third seed TNT taking on sixth seed Alaska.