Import Jameel McKay delivered another impressive performance and Phoenix rallied from a 10-point halftime deficit to beat Globalport, 84-72, last night to solidify its bid for a quarterfinals berth in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
McKay scored 13 of his 22 points in the third quarter, helping the Fuel Masters erase the Batang Pier’s 36-26 lead at the break.
The win somehow eased the pain it suffered from after absorbing an 81-66 loss to the Meralco Bolts.
RJ Jazul added 21 points for Phoenix, which improved to 4-5 for eighth place, thus keeping an inside track at making the playoffs.
The top eight teams after the eliminations qualify for the quarterfinals.
Fuel Masters coach Ariel Vanguardia, however, wasn’t happy with the outcome as his team had to weather a low-scoring encounter for three quarters before pulling away in the final canto.
“We probably had an ugly halftime (discussion). I was really pissed on how we were playing individual basket. I was just on them, told them to show some pride. They’re just letting Globalport do whatever they want,” said Vanguardia.
“Good thing players like Chico Lanete, who I seldom use, stepped up big time that sparked the third quarter. They answered the call. It’s very crucial. This, going to the long break, hindi magiging dragging ang practice.”
“But we still have to find ways to win back-to-back games, so we should focus on that last two games, which will spell our place in the quarterfinals, if we make it to the next round,” added Vanguardia.
Despite his displeasure, Vanguardia should be privately pleased with coming away with a win before a 15-day break because of next week’s SEABA Championship. Phoenix returns to action on May 21 against Mahindra before wrapping up its elims assignment against NLEX six days later.
McKay once again showed why he has impressed in his maiden appearance in the country, grabbing 20 rebounds. He made 6-of-7 from the field in the third, including a bank shot at the buzzer that put the Fuel Masters up 57-55 going into the fourth.
That shot gave Phoenix more momentum as it outscored Globalport, 30-19, in the fourth. The Fuel Masters forced 11 turnovers, which they converted to 13 points.
The Fuel Masters won despite missing rookie guard Matthew Wright for the second straight game after being selected to play for Gilas Pilipinas in the SEABA tournament.
GlobalPort, which dropped to 2-6 for a share of ninth and tenth with Blackwater, also played minus Gilas member Terrence Romeo.
Stanley Pringle led Globalport with 25 points, nine rebounds and six assists although he committed six of the team’s 27 turnovers, while import Malcolm White contributed just 16 points and eight rebounds.
PHOENIX 84 – McKay 22, Jazul 21, Baguio 8, Lanete 6, Eriobu 6, Torres 5, Borboran 4, Alolino 4, Dehesa 4, Kramer 2, W. Wilson 2, Intal 0, J. Wilson 0.
GLOBALPORT 72 – Pringle 25, White 16, Cortez 12, Aban 7, Quinahan 4, Forrester 3, Pessumal 3, Mamaril 2, Maierhofer 0, Ababou 0, Urbiztondo 0.
Quarters: 14-28; 27-36; 57-55; 84-72.
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