by Jonas Terrado
Phoenix capitalized on a halfcourt buzzer-beater by LA Revilla at the end of the third quarter to edge Blackwater, 97-91, and secure the last twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals of the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Revilla’s heave not only gave the Fuel Masters a 72-69 lead going into the fourth but a needed jolt that enabled them to take control of the match and eventually claim their first quarterfinal bonus in franchise history.
The Fuel Masters also got another clutch basket from Matthew Wright, whose stepback jumper from the corner off Paul Zamar with 41 seconds left in the fourth made it 95-89 and crushing the Elite’s bid to erase a nine-point deficit.
In claiming victory, Phoenix is assured of the No. 2 seed in the quarters against the seventh-ranked team in the quarters which starts either tomorrow at the Big Dome or Wednesday at the Cuneta Astrodome.
“At least we’re one win away from the semis, but we expect a dangerous opponent in the quarterfinals,” said coach Louie Alas after Phoenix ended the eliminations at 8-3.
Their opponent could either be NLEX or Meralco which will be known after the match between defending champion Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and TNT KaTropa which was being played at presstime.
TNT was seeking a three-way tie at 5-6 with NLEX and Meralco when it trooped to the floor against Ginebra.
A win by TNT will give NLEX the No. 7 seed because of a superior quotient, leaving the KaTropa and the Bolts to forge a playoff for No. 8 tomorrow.
Phoenix’s victory gave Ginebra the top spot in the quarters regardless of the outcome of its game against TNT.
Calvin Abueva had 25 points and eight rebounds while Wright added 23 points, seven rebounds and five assists, giving import Eugene Phelps enough support on the offensive end.
Phelps posted 16 points and 19 rebounds even as Revilla contributed 11 points and six assists.
Import Henry Walker scored 21 points but Blackwater finished fifth at 7-4, and will need to beat No. 4 Magnolia twice in the quarters.
Phoenix 97 – Abueva 25, Wright 23, Phelps 16, Revilla 11, Perkins 9, Jazul 4, Chua 4, Intal 3, Wilson 1, Alolino 1, Kramer 0.
Blackwater 91 – Walker 21, Pinto 17, Zamar 12, Belo 10, Erram 9, Maliksi 9, Digregorio 7, Al-Hussaini 4, Javier 2, Cortez 0, Sumang 0, Jose 0.
Quarters: 21-18, 44-48, 72-69, 97-91.