MANILA, Philippines — The Phoenix Fuel Masters blew a 19-point advantage but regained their bearings in the fourth quarter to fend off NLEX, 111-104, in their final game of the PBA preseason on Wednesday at the Upper Deck Sports Center in Pasig City.
Rookie Jason Perkins was a bright spot for Phoenix, firing 21 points on 8-of-15 shooting, while Jeff Chan added 17 points and seven assists. Matthew Wright and Justin Chua each scored 15 points.
The Fuel Masters led by 19, 40-21, with 10:45 to go in the second period and still had a comfortable 52-42 advantage at the half.
But a huge third quarter allowed NLEX to tie the game at 74 heading into the payoff period. They took a 79-78 lead briefly off a triple by Juami Tiongson with 10 minutes to go.
It was back and forth from there, with NLEX tying the game for the last time at 89 after JR Quinahan’s jumper with still 7:16 left to play. Phoenix responded to that bucket with an 11-2 run, capped by a Wright triple for a 101-91 lead.
The Road Warriors did not threaten again, and Chua sealed the win with back-to-back jumpers for another double-digit spread, 109-99, with under a minute to play.
Larry Fonacier had 18 points and Raul Soyud added 15 for NLEX, which lost for the second straight game after bowing to Rain or Shine on Tuesday.
In the second game, six players scored in double-digits as Alaska turned back Rain or Shine, 110-97, for their first win of the pocket tournament.
The Aces pulled away immediately, thanks to a 30-20 opening quarter, and though the Elasto Painters closed the gap to four points at the end of the third frame, 79-75, Alaska ramped up their intensity anew in the payoff period to claim the victory.
Rain or Shine last threatened at the 5:02 mark, when Jerramy King knocked down a triple to make it a four-point game, 99-95. But Alaska responded with 11 unanswered points to pull away once more.
Abueva finished with 19 points, seven rebounds, and three assists, while rookie Jeron Teng had 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting for the Aces.
Ed Daquioag had 18 points and Maverick Ahanmisi contributed 13 markers for the Elasto Painters, who still topped the pocket tournament after compiling a 2-1 win-loss record.
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