CAGAYAN de Oro City – Defending champion Barangay Ginebra brouth down Phoenix, 101-99, in a tight and exciting game in the Petron Blaze Saturday Special in the PBA Governors Cup at the Xavier University gym.
Justin Brownlee finished with game-highs of 34 points and 15 rebounds, Joe de Vance added 15 points and Scottie Thompson contributed 12 points and 14 rebounds for the Gin Kings, who needed a strong finish to subdue the Phoenix and took over the top spot with a 5-1 win-loss record.
Phoenix had a chance to send the game into overtime -- or even win it with a triple -- after Brownlee split his free throws left the score at 101-99.
But Matthew Wright, who earlier hit a difficult three-pointer to make it 99-100 with still 20 seconds left, turned the ball over with four seconds remaining.
Wright topscored for Phoenix with 27 points, while limport Eugene Phelps added 23 points and Calvin Abueva had 17.
The Fuel Masters dropped to 5-2.
Action returns at the Araneta Coliseum with Talk N Text taking on NorthPort at 4:30 p.m. and Magnolia battling San Miguel Beer at 6:45 p.m.
The Texters have won two straight games after changing imports twice and overhauling their coaching staff that saw coach Nash Racela go on indefinite leave.
After Racela’s departure, the Texters defeated Columbian Dyip, 118-84, last Sept 2 under interim coach Eric Gonzales and beat Rain or Shine, 110-192, in an out-of-town game in Passi, Iloilo under new coach Bong Ravena.
A third straight win, however, is not expected to come easy even if the Texters will be playing a winless Batang Pier.
The Batang Pier have lost five straight games, but coach Pido Jarencio remains confident that they can still turn things around with Stanley Pringle back in full harness.
In the second game, the Hotshots hope for a fitting ollow-up to their 92-76 win over the E-Painters last Sept. 26 and improve their 3-1 record.
But the Hotshots have to do it against the Beermen, who will unveil former Utah Jazz Kevin Murphy as they look to bounce back strong after a 102-110 loss to the Gin Kings.
After going 2-2 with the injury-hit AZ Reid, San Miguel has decided to bring in Murphy, who boasts of a wealth of playing experience, including stints in France, Japan, China and Croatia.
Ginebra (101) -- Brownlee 34, Devance 15, Thompson 12, Tenorio 10, Caperal 8, Ferrer 8, Mariano 6, Caguioa 4, Chan 4.
Phoenix (99) -- Wright 27, Phelps 23, Abueva 17, Perkins 13, Jazul 6, Chua 5, Intal 4, Wilson 2, Alolino 2, Revilla 0.
Quarterscores: 19-22, 49-52, 78-72, 101-99.