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PBA: Phoenix a win away

Brian Heruela
Brian Heruela of Phoenix and Jayson Castro of Talk N Text in action.

PHOENIX Super LPG and its superstar forward Matthew Wright did it again.

Wright hit a turnaround jump shot with 22 seconds remaining as Phoenix brought down Talk N Text, 92-89, to take a 2-1 lead in the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series at the Angeles University Foundation (AUF) Sports Center in Pampanga.

Wright’s basket came after Ray Parks scored on a driving layup with 40 seconds left as the Tropang Giga battled back from an 81-88 deficit with exactly three minutes remaining to threaten at 89-90 behind an 8-2 run.

But Wright, the 6-4 Fil-Canadian gunner who saw limited action in the first two games in the series due to an ankle injury, saved the day with the game-winner.

Talk N Text tried to send the game into overtime, but Roger Pogoy and Jayson Castro missed desperation three-point tries before the final buzzer.

With the win, Phoenix now needs only to win in Game 4 on Wednesday to reach the finals for the first time since joining the league in 2016.

Wright, the leading candidate for the PBA “Best Player of the Conference” award, finished with a game-high 25 points on 5-of-11 shooting from the three-point area in 33 minutes.

Calvin Abueva also continued to play like the “Beast” of old as he came through with another monstrous performance of 24 points, 14 rebounds, six assists and four steals while leading a solid defensive effort by the Fuel Masters.

Jason Perkins added 11 points, six rebounds and two assists, RJ Jazul contributed 11 points, two rebounds and two assists and Justin Chua had eight points and six rebounds for the Topex Robinson-mentored Fuel Masters

.”Matthew told me that he doesn’t care that he has a bad ankle or not. He will not give it as an excuse to not perform and he just said, ‘Call my name coach and I’ll contribute.’ And that’s what Matthew is, not letting go of this opportunity and platform to really inspire a lot of people,” Robinson said after the game.

Again, you’ll never know when you’ll get this chance again so no matter what the game is, it’s always about again just trying to enjoy it. We already overachieved coming to this series,” added Robinson.

Parks carried the fight for Talk N Text with team-highs 19 points, 13 rebounds and six assists.

Parks had a career-high 41 in Talk N Text’s 103-110 setback in Game 2,

Simon Enciso added 16 points, Troy Rosario had 14 points, seven rebounds and three assists and Castro had 12 points and six rebounds.

Castro, however, struggled from the floor all night, hitting only 1-of-5 from the three-point area and 5-of-11 from the free throw line.

Pogoy also had a bad shooting night with eight points on 3-of-12 clip in 36 minutes.He went 2-of-7 from the rainbow territory.

JP Erram had six markers on 3-of-9 shooting.

A triple by Jazul put Phoenix ahead by 10 points, 71-61, with 3:56 left in the third quarter.

But the Tropang Giga unleashed a closing 8-2 run highlighted by back-to-back triples by Keith Montalbo and Pogoy made it 69-73 going into the payoff period.

Another triple by Pogoy tied the score at 77-all with 6:01 remaining.

The scores:

Phoenix (92) – Wright 25, Abueva 24, Perkins 11, Jazul 11, Chua 8, Intal 5, Napoles 3, Rios 3, Mallari 2, Garcia 0, Heruela 0, Gamboa 0, Marcelo 0.
Talk N Text (89) – Parks 19, Enciso 16, Rosario 14, Castro 12, Pogoy 8, Erram 6, Montalbo 6, Reyes 5, Washington 3, Semerad 0, Carey 0.
Quarterscores: 22-24, 49-47, 73-69, 92-89.

Games Wednesday:
(AUF Sports Center)
3:45 p.m.– Meralco vs. Ginebra
6 p.m. — Phoenix vs.Talk N Text