by Jonas Terrado
Jason Perkins nailed a corner three in the clutch as Phoenix Pulse completed a 17-point comeback to beat Magnolia, 89-87, and move a win shy of securing a twice-to-beat advantage in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Perkins’ open three off a pass by a double-teamed Matthew Wright with 19 seconds put the Fuel Masters ahead 88-87 that eventually kept them on top of the standings with an 8-1 record.
Last season’s Rookie of the Year split his free throws, 6.3 left, after Phoenix made a stop as Paul Lee’s desperate try fell short at the buzzer.
The victory put the Fuel Masters closer toward securing the quarterfinal bonus in the season-opening conference.
Phoenix needs to win at least once to clinch the spot. The Fuel Masters play Barangay Ginebra on Sunday and San Miguel Beermen on March 16.
Calvin Abueva had 24 points and 13 rebounds, RJ Jazul scored 19 points, Wright produced 14 poitns, five rebounds and six assists and Perkins added 12 and seven boards despite nursing five personal fouls.
Mark Barroca and Paul Lee scored 16 points apiece but Magnolia dropped to a league-worst 1-4 record.
Phoenix 89 – Abueva 24, Jazul 19, Wright 14, Perkins 12, Mallari 8, Chua 6, Kramer 4, Dennison 2, Revilla 0, Mendoza 0, Marcelo 0.
Magnolia 87 – Lee 16, Barroca 16, Jalalon 11, Sangalang 10, Dela Rosa 10, Reavis 7, Brondial 6, Gamalinda 4, Ramos 3, Melton 2, Herndon 2.
Quarters: 13-17, 39-44, 63-69, 89-87.