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Phoenix takes flight in Q4 to edge Terrafirma

Paul Harris impressed in his Phoenix debut. PBA Images
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—Phoenix came alive just in time to repulse a newly boosted Terrafirma squad with a 103-100 win in a PBA Governors' Cup action on Thursday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.

Despite squandering a hot start, the Fuel Masters finished strong and stole the win from the Dyip, who thought a solid second quarter would be enough.

Phoenix sizzled early on and scored 30 points in the first quarter, but Terrafirma went on a 27-12 second quarter to enter halftime up by 10, 52-42.

The Dyip swelled their lead to as high as 17, 67-50, with less than seven minutes left in the third and appeared groomed to score a win for the first time with new combo guard Alex Cabagnot.

However, the Fuel Masters unleashed a 23-4 run midway into the fourth quarter to retake the lead, 100-94, with 2:14 to go.

Terrafirma still threatened to get the lead back after Juami Tiongson scored four straight points to cut the lead down to just two, 100-98, with 16 seconds left, but Paul Harris gave Phoenix some breathing room after knocking down two free throws to up the lead back to four, 102-98.

Cabagnot still showed that he is one of PBA's main clutch guys today after scoring on a layup that brought the Dyip back to within two.

Cabagnot even had a chance at forcing overtime after Harris settled for a split from the free throw line with two seconds left, but Cabagnot missed a desperation shot from long range at the final horn.

Harris led the Fuel Masters with 24 points, 15 rebounds, and three assists.

Jason Perkins and Chris Banchero each added 18 points, while Matthew Wright got 17 markers, 10 assists, six boards, and two steals.

Antonio Hester fired 28 points on 11-of-14 shooting, 16 rebounds, four assists, three steals, and one block to lead the Dyip.

Tiongson added 20 points, three caroms, one dime, and one swipe, while Cabagnot finished with 12 markers, seven rebounds, five assists, and one steal in his Terrafirma debut.

Justin Melton was cleared to play on Thursday after getting his first COVID-19 vaccine shot earlier this week but was not fielded in.

The Scores:

PHOENIX 103 – Harris 24, Banchero 18, Perkins 18, Wright 17, Jazul 9, Muyang 6, Manganti 4, Garcia 3, Chua 2, Pascual 2, Rios 0, Melecio 0, Tamsi 0

TERRAFIRMA 100 – Hester 28, Tiongson 20, Cabagnot 12, Ramos 9,  Cahilig 8, Adams 6, Ganuelas-Rosser 5, Celda 5, Gabayni 3, Camson 2, Pascual 2, Balagasay 0, Batiller 0

QUARTERS: 30-25, 42-52, 67-77, 103-100

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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