Phoenix found itself in a must-win situation and pulled off a 101-98 victory over NorthPort to claim the final playoff seed in the PBA Governors’ Cup knockout match on Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum.

/ 14 March 2022

The Phoenix Fuel Masters got its acts together just in time as Matthew Wright converted a three-point play off Jamie Malonzo’s sixth and final foul with 29 seconds left in the final frame.

Northport had the chance to respond but Roi Sumang failed a turnover that led to a split free-throw line trip for RR Garcia for a 101-98 Phoenix lead.

The 38-year-old Garcia found his touch, leading all Phoenix locals with 19 points on 3-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc.

“I just saw a vintage RR Garcia tonight,” Phoenix coach Topex Robinson said.

Batang Pier had two chances to tie the game in the end, but import Jamel Artis’ tying three missed and Jerrick Balanza another three-point attempt clanked off. 

Phoenix import Du’vaughn Maxwell top-scored Phoenix with 31 points, 13 rebounds, and five assists in a full 48-minute marathon while Jason Perkins added 18 markers alongside 11 rebounds. 

“Credit goes to the players, the guys who just didn’t give up. Guys were struggling the whole game, but we just made a lot of stops in the fourth quarter. At this point, it’s really them, they just didn’t give up,” Robinson expressed.

Phoenix import Jamel Artis led Phoenix with double-double 21 points and 12 boards, Robert Bolick drilled in 19 markers, nine rebounds, seven dimes, and two steals that went to naught.

With the win, Phoenix will now head to the quarterfinals as the eighth seed and will face the top-ranked Magnolia Hotshots on Friday at 6 PM while Northport ends its campaign in the PBA Governor’s Cup. 

The Scores:

Phoenix 101 – Maxwell 31, Garcia 19, Perkins 18, Jazul 11, Wright 11, Demusis 4, Rios 3, Manganti 2, Melecio 2, Pascual 0, Robles 0

NorthPort 98 – Artis 21, Bolick 19, Malonzo 15, Santos 14, Sumang 14, Ferrer 6, Balanza 4, Rike 3, Taha 2

Quarters: 18-31,  46-55, 76-79, 101-98