Brgy. Ginebra San Miguel just got more talented with the addition of last season’s scoring champion Stanley Pringle but for Matthew Wright and the rest of the Phoenix Pulse Fuel Masters, the country’s most popular ballclub is not as fearsome as others would take them for.
And this was the case when the two teams met Friday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in the elimination round of the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
The Gin Kings had the game in check entering the 2nd half when the Fuel Masters started to hit their shots and got their game going. From a 14-point halftime deficit, Phoenix seized control and built an 8-point advantage heading into the final frame.
Brgy. Ginebra mounted a last-ditch stand in the 4th anchored on Justin Brownlee but Phoenix had an answer every time the Gin Kings threatened to eventually pull off the hard-earned win.
Wright led the Phoenix assault with 32 points including 14 in the pivotal 3rd where the Fuel Masters turned the game around by outscoring the defending champs 45-25.
“Obviously, we respect them. But sometimes, we feel like they get a little too much respect, and teams are afraid to go at them. Especially with the crowd, it gets intimidating,” said the Fil-Canadian gunner.
“Everyone’s so preoccupied with Ginebra and their size, their lineup, but they’re humans just like we are. They put their pants on one leg at a time just like me,” he added.
The Fuel Masters improved to 4-4 after picking up their 2nd consecutive win, good for a triple tie for 4th to 6th spot with the Gin Kings and the Alaska Aces.