Fresh from a rousing win over the Bay Area Dragons, Brgy. Ginebra tried but failed to find the form that was responsible for the guest team’s first defeat in the elimination round of the PBA Season 47 Commissioner’s Cup as the Gin Kings succumbed to a determined Phoenix side, 101-93, Friday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
Young guns Tyler Tio and Encho Serrano joined forces with veterans Sean Anthony and RJ Jazul as the Fuel Masters unleashed a 14-2 run which gave the team a 9-point edge, 88-79, after entering the payoff period behind by 3, 74-77.
The crowd darlings managed to cut the lead down to 5, 91-96, after a triple by reigning league MVP Scottie Thompson but the Topex Robinson-mentored squad strung up 4 straight points which eventually took the fight out of the Gin Kings.
The loss was the second for Brgy. Ginebra in 4 games while Phoenix picked up its second straight victory after opening the conference with 3 successive defeats.
“These guys are playing their hearts out. We talked earlier about quieting the noise and we just did our jobs to make sure the fans were there but not there,” said Robinson during the post-game press conference.
“We try to focus on everything and prepare for this game. You know it’s going to be a tough one. I told them no matter what you guys run, as long as everybody is aware of it. We want to come out, always, as a united front, whether it’s on offense or defense,” he added.
Javee Mocon paced the Fuel Masters with 20 points while Tio and Serrano finished with 17 and 16 points, respectively. Import Kaleb Wesson had 15 markers and 17 boards while Anthony contributed 14 points, 13 boards, 5 assists and a steal in 33 minutes of play. Jazul chipped in 7 points and 3 assists.
Stanley Pringle dished out his best performance of the season with 25 points highlighted by 5-of-9 shooting from beyond the arc. Justin Brownlee, who was charged with a technical foul for second motion after his physical altercation with Phoenix rookie Chris Lalata in the final frame, came through with 23 points, 11 rebounds, 8 assists and a steal while Jamie Malonzo and Thompson added 13 and 11 markers, respectively.