ASON PERKINS and Phoenix Super LPG forced giant-killer Terrafirma’s drive to a screeching halt with a 96-84 victory on Thursday in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Philippine Cup at the Don Honorio Ventura State University (DHVSU) gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.
Perkins scored 20 of his 28 points in the first half and also had four rebounds and four assists, while power forward Vic Manuel went on a fourth-quarter scoring frenzy with nine of his 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting to push the Fuel Masters’ win-loss record to 3-5.
“We just respected that team,” Phoenix head coach Topex Robinson said, referring to Terrafirma’s consecutive triumphs over San Miguel Beer and defending champion Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and also over winless Blackwater.
“That means they are here on a mission. If we didn’t give our best, we’re lost,” Robinson added.
Riding Manuel’s hot hands, the Fuel Masters unleashed a 15-3 run at crunch time to post their biggest lead at 90-72 on Michael Calisaan’s basket with 3:41 left.
Matthew Wright scored 15 points, Calisaan came off the bench with nine points and seven rebounds and Justin Chua contributed nine points and seven rebounds for Phoenix.
Terrafirma showed signs of a comeback after narrowing the gap to only 64-69 entering the last period on Eric Camson’s long three-pointer at the buzzer.
Phoenix regrouped in the payoff period and with RJ Jazul complimenting Manuel’s offensive run, the Dyip’s momentum hit a wall.
Aldrech Ramos led Terrafirma’s balanced scoring with 13 points, with Roosevelt Adams, Camson and Joseph Gabayni finishing with 11 points each and Rashawn McCarthy adding 10 points.
Juami Tiongson? He was Phoenix’s apple on defense and was limited to only eight points on a dismal 2-of-8 shooting after averaging 23.0 points highlighted by 15 triples (50 percent), 5.3 assists, 3.0. rebounds, and 2.0 steals in the Dyip’s last three games.
The Dyip fell to 3-5.
NorthPort, playing without its regular coaching staff led by Pido Jarencio, sent Blackwater deeper down the standings with a 98-73 triumph, snapping a two-game skid for a 2-3 record.
Rookie Jamie Malonzo had 17 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks and guard Robert Bolick added 17 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists for the Batang Pier, that played without Jarencio who is recovering from Covid-19 virus infection.
The entire coaching staff had to be quarantined, forcing team manager Bonnie Tan, who guided Letran to the National Collegiate Athletic Association men’s crown in 2019, to take over as coach.
Kevin Ferrer made 14 points for Northport, while 7-foot Greg Slaughter crushed Blackwater’s frontline with 12 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks.
The Batang Pier whipped the Bossing in rebounding (65-40), stressing their strength off the offensive board, 22-13. They also outscored the Bossings in the paint, 36-22.
Blackwater suffered its eighth straight defeat, losing its chance for a quarterfinal berth.