by Waylon Galvez
Games Wednesday (Mall of Asia Arena)
4:30 p.m. – Columbian vs Rain or Shine
7 p.m. – San Miguel vs Meralco
Matthew Wright hit a go-ahead three followed by a technical free throw off a Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok’s blunder to give the Phoenix Fuel Masters an 89-87 victory last night in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.
After missing four of five attempts from beyond the arc, Wright came through with the triple over center Rafi Reavis with 3.2 seconds left that gave the Fuel Masters an 88-87 lead. Replays, however, showed that Wright appeared to have stepped on the three-point line.
But the confusion didn’t end there as referees called a halt on the play and awarded Magnolia a timeout, which coach Chito Victolero contested. However, Victolero was seen initially signaling for a timeout, only to change his mind when he realized that his team already had none.
Victolero was hit with an automatic technical, allowing Wright to convert a free throw to make it a two-point game.
PJ Simon had a chance to win it for the Hotshots but his three-point attempt was short at the buzzer.
“Deja vu kay Matthew Wright… sa game against TNT last conference, down by two, Matthew Wright three points,” said Phoenix coach Alas, who called a similar scenario that saw Wright draining a winning three against TNT in the Philippine Cup eliminations.
Wright finished with 19 points on 7-of-14 shooting while import James White had 19 points and 17 rebounds for the Fuel Masters, who improved to 2-1 this conference.
Magnolia got 25 points and 17 rebounds from import Vernon Macklin, who is back in the PBA after reinforcing Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in the 2013 Commissioner’s Cup, while ace guard Paul Lee had 20 points.
But the Hotshots were left to ponder on squandering a double-digit lead that allowed the Fuel Masters to pull off an escape act.
PHOENIX 89 – Wright 19, White 19, Wilson 17, Perkins 16, Chan 6, Jazul 4, Chua 3, Kramer 2, Intal 2, Revilla 1, Mendoza 0, Alolino 0.
MAGNOLIA 87 – Macklin 25, Lee 20, Sangalang 12, Dela Rosa 10, Jalalon 6, Herndon 6, Barroca 5, Simon 2, Brondial 1, Reavis 0, Gamalinda 0, Ramos 0.
Quarters: 17-24; 35-45; 63-70; 89-87.