March 2, 2024

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Phoenix Super LPG stays alive, whips Magnolia Hotshots, 103-85, in Game 3

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RENEWED HOPE. The Phoenix Super LPG, down 0-2 in the best-of-five PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinal series, mount a strong comeback with a lopsided 103-85 victory against the Magnolia Hotshots on Sunday night, January 29, 2024, at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena in Pasay City. The Hotshots still lead the series, 2-1. PBA PHOTO

The Phoenix Super LPG flipped the script, mirroring Magnolia’s first-half prowess to secure a convincing 103-85 victory at the Mall of Asia Arena on Sunday night, January 28, 2024. 

This win not only breathed new life into their PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals but also set the stage for a thrilling Game 4 showdown on Wednesday.

The Fuel Masters, down 0-2 in the best-of-five series, faced a formidable 21-point deficit in the first half. 

However, their halftime adjustments and a remarkable second-half surge orchestrated by Johnathan Williams and RJ Jazul proved to be the game-changer.

Coach Jamike Jarin, reflecting on the turnaround, stated, “Coming into the second half, we just told ourselves we weren’t having fun, and we were just too tight, letting Magnolia do the things that they wanted to do. 

So, we buckled down on defense, moved the ball, and worked as a unit both offensively and defensively.”

Jazul, shining during a pivotal 14-4 run, delivered a trio of three-pointers that not only ignited the crowd but also propelled the Fuel Masters to an 85-71 lead. This surge allowed Phoenix to take full control of the match, thwarting any attempts by the Hotshots to regain momentum.

The Fuel Masters received significant contributions from Jason Perkins, Javee Mocon, Sean Manganti, and Kenneth Tuffin, collectively delivering crucial points and showcasing a balanced offensive attack. With this victory, Phoenix notched their 100th win in franchise history, emphatically disrupting Magnolia’s bid for a clean sweep.

Despite Magnolia’s early dominance, the Fuel Masters clawed their way back into contention, trimming the gap to 38-51 at halftime. A 15-8 surge propelled them to a 69-62 lead before entering the final quarter with a 71-67 edge.

Williams, despite a scoreless opening quarter, finished with an impressive 19 points and 15 rebounds. Jazul added 17 points, while Manganti, Mocon, and Tuffin contributed 14 points each, with Perkins chipping in 13 markers.

For Magnolia, Tyler Bey led with 18 points and 12 boards, but the team struggled with turnovers, committing 13 in total. 

Paul Lee contributed 17 points, Calvin Abueva had a near-triple double with 14 points and nine boards before fouling out, and Ian Sangalang added 10 points.

As the series heads to Game 4, both teams will be gearing up for another intense battle, with the Fuel Masters aiming to level the series and the Hotshots looking to secure their spot in the finals. The stage is set for a basketball spectacle that promises to be as unpredictable as it is thrilling.

The boxscores:

Phoenix 103 – Williams 19, Jazul 17, Manganti 14, Tuffin 14, Mocon 14, Perkins 13, Rivero 6, Tio 4, Verano 2, Muyang 0, Lalata 0, Garcia 0, Alejandro 0, Camacho.

Magnolia 85 – Bey 18, Lee 17, Abueva 14, Sangalang 10, Barroca 7, Ahanmisi 6, JReavis 4, alalon 4, Dela Rosa 2, Dionisio 2, Mendoza 0, Tratter 0, Eriobu 0.

Quarterscores: 17-31, 38-51, 71-67, 103-85

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