Phoenix inches closer to finals berth
By Ivan Stewart Saldajeno
MANILA (Philippines News Agency) – Behind an impressive performance from Matt Wright, Phoenix took one step closer to its first Philippine Basketball Association finals appearance after beating TNT, 92-89, in Game 4 of their semifinal tie at the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center.
Still hounded by an ankle injury he suffered in Game 1, Wright, playing off the bench, dropped 25 points including huge baskets that helped keep the Fuel Masters keep the Tropang Giga at bay.
Wright scored on a triple with 3:03 left that capped the team’s 8-2 run to put them up, 88-81.
TNT would still fight back, cutting the lead down to one, 90-89, with 40 seconds to play, but Wright scored on a turnaround jumper to put the lead back to three with 22 seconds left.
The Tropang Giga had two chances to force overtime, but RR Pogoy and Jayson Castro missed three-point attempts in the end.
Wright went 10-for-19 from the field while also tallying three rebounds, three assists, and one steal for the Fuel Masters, who can end the series on Wednesday night.
Calvin Abueva added 24 points, 14 rebounds, six assists, four steals, and one block.
Ray-Ray Parks made 19 points, 13 rebounds, six assists, and one steal for the Tropang Giga, who need to win Game 4 to stay alive in the series and force the rubber match on Friday night.
Phoenix 92 — Wright 25, Abueva 24, Perkins 11, Jazul 11, Chua 8, Intal 5, Napoles 3, Rios 3, Mallari 2, Heruela 0, Garcia 0, Marcelo 0, Gamboa 0
TNT 89 — Parks 19, Enciso 16, Rosario 14, Castro 12, Pogoy 8, Erram 6, Montalbo 6, Reyes 5, Washington 3, Semerad 0, Carey 0
Quarterscores: 23-24, 49-47, 73-69, 92-89 (PNA)