Phoenix nips Blackwater, inches closer to clinching top 4 finish

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The Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters rallied from a 16-point deficit to take down the Blackwater Elite, 100-95, in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Philippine Cup on Monday, at the Angeles University Foundation Sports Arena and Cultural Center in Pampanga.

The win was important for Phoenix as it upped their win-loss record to 7-3, giving them the inside track on a top four finish after the elimination round. The top four teams at the end of the single round-robin elims will have a twice-to-beat advantage over the lower seeds in the upcoming quarterfinal round.

Blackwater led by as much as eight in the fourth but Phoenix rode the energetic play of “The Beast” Calvin Abueva to get back into the game and eventually take the lead, 81-79, after a layup by Matthew Wright.

Phoenix then unleashed an 8-1 run capped off by a three-pointer by Justin Chua that gave the Fuel Masters an 89-82 advantage with just 3:34 remaining. Blackwater pulled to within four with just seconds remaining but Wright sealed the door shut with several made free-throws in the clutch.

Jason Perkins led Phoenix with 18 points and 12 rebounds while Abueva and Wright had 17 markers each. Abueva narrowly missed a triple-double with 13 rebounds and eight assists. He also had two steals and two blocks. Cebuano guard Brian Heruela also gave the Fuel Masters a nice lift with 15 points spiked by four triples.

Blackwater lost their seventh game in a row and fell to 2-8. (JNP)