Phoenix Petroleum shook off a lethargic first half performance to defeat GlobalPort, 84-72, on Friday for its fourth win in the Philippine Basketball Association Season 42 Commissioner’s Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.
The Fuel Masters, riding on the solid performance of import Jameel McKay, outscored the Batang Pier in the third period, 30-19, and in the last quarter, 27-17. The victory was a fresh wind for Phoenix who suffered an 81-86 defeat to Meralco last Wednesday.
The Fuel Masters also improved their win-loss record to 4-5, still good for the eighth and last quarterfinals spot.
Veteran swingman Cyrus Baguio and Playmaker RJ Jazul combined for 16 points in the last quarter. The duo also made the important shots that sealed their win against the Batang Pier who played without top scorer Terrence Romeo who’s called to play for the Gilas Pilipinas national team.
Phoenix’s Matthew Wright, like Romeo, also missed the game because of his commitment with the national team. Gilas will compete in the 2017 Southeast Asian Basketball Association Championship happening from May 12 to 18 at the Araneta Coliseum.
But GlobalPort performed miserably in the second half in the absence of Romeo.
After Stanley Pringle made his two free throws resulting in a 31-16 lead for GlobalPort with 9:04 to go in the second period, McKay scored 13 of his 22 points in the third canto including his jumper that put the Fuel Masters ahead at the start of the last period, 57-55. He also notched 20 rebounds.
Chico Lanete’ lay-up stretched the Fuel Masters’ lead to 78-65, prior to the last two-minute mark. The Fuel Masters were never threatened from then onward.
“We had an ugly halftime. I was really pissed because we played individual basketball,” said Phoenix coach Ariel Vanguardia. “I told them to show some pride and play. We were just allowing GlobalPort do whatever they want.”
“I’m really happy that good thing players like Chico (Lanete) stepped up big time today,” he added. “He was able to spark our run and Norbert (Torres) made a couple of shots and RJ (Jazul) stepped up big time.”
Jazul tallied 21 points on 8-of-16 shooting from the field plus four rebounds, while Baguio contributed eight points .
Pringle led GlobalPort with 25 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Batang Pier’s win-loss record dropped to 2-6.