As the famous saying goes, basketball is a game of runs. It will boil down to who makes the final run at the end of the game, towing his team to victory.
That saying was perfectly exemplified in the game between the Fuel Masters and the Bolts, as both teams exchanged run after run. But when the dust settled, it was Phoenix who stood tall, led by their super rookie Matthew Wright and veteran Cyrus Baguio.
Entering the 4th period, the Fuel Masters found themselves down by 10 points with a score of 75-65. Even though Phoenix were the ones who found themselves down, there was plenty of reason to believe that they could eke out one more run given how the rest of the game went.
The Fuel Masters did go on a run, which was lead by Matthew Wright.
The Filipino-Candian hooper, who played collegiate ball at St. Bonaventure University, scored 16 of his 22 points during the final period, outscoring the entire Meralco team by his lonesome, 16-15. It was a scintillating scoring display by Wright, showing fans why he was so highly touted coming out of the ABL (Asean Basketball League).
Wright wasn’t the only player out of Phoenix who impressed, as a familiar face also made rounds during the game. Cyrus Baguio put up an impressive 11 point, 5 rebound, 10 assist (versus 1 turnover) spread. In fact, it was Baguio who made the three-point basket for the Fuel Masters at the 1:12 mark which put the game away for the Fuel Masters for good.
Rookie Jonathan Grey’s 24 point outburst went for naught, as the Bolts just couldn’t hold on to the lead come the end of the game. Chris Newsome was particularly missing for Meralco, scoring just 2 points on a horrendous 1/9 spread. He did have 8 assists, but his scoring was sorely missed for Meralco.
The Fuel Masters now find themselves with a 3-3 record, ending a two-game slide which saw them lose in big margins against Star and Talk ‘N Text. Before this game, they found themselves perched at the bottom of the league in terms of DRTG. If they will want to have a chance of making it big in the playoffs, the Fuel Masters will have to show a more consistent defensive effort, much akin to how they performed against Meralco.
On the other hand, Meralco was able to play excellent defense for most of the game before surrendering their double-digit lead during the final canto. Coach Norman preaches defense with his system, so the Bolts will have to tighten their screws on the defensive end if they want to replicate the miracle title run which they had a conference before.