PBA: Phoenix makes it five in a row, scrapes past TNT

Phoenix import Kaleb Wesson. PBA IMAGES

MANILA, Philippines—Phoenix kept its amazing winning run going to five straight games after holding off the Mikey Williams-less TNT, 91-88, on Sunday in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at Ynares Center in Antipolo City.

Encho Serrano knocked down the go-ahead free throw, fellow rookie Tyler Tio made two insurance charities while the rest of the Fuel Masters held the Tropang Giga scoreless in the final four minutes to remain red hot after a 0-3 start.

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The win also came despite blowing a 17-point lead against a TNT side that played without Mikey Williams, who was suspended for one week without pay by management for missing Saturday’s practice.

“This is a championship team so whoever’s there knows that they have more experience than us,” said coach Topex Robinson.

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Import Kaleb Wesson produced 23 points, 17 rebounds, four steals and three blocks for Phoenix during a match that at times was testy while Serrano added 16 off the bench.

TNT suffered a second straight defeat and dropped to 3-4 despite battling back in the third quarter behind the shooting of Calvin Oftana, who scored 15 of his 27 in that stretch on five three-pointers.

A Kib Montalbo triple made it 88-85 for the Tropang Giga before the Fuel Masters forced them to miss their final five shots while committing three turnovers.

Serrano’s foul shot made it 89-88 Phoenix with barely a minute to play while the two teams had empty possessions each, setting up a chance by RR Pogoy to put TNT back in front.

But Pogoy missed a driving attempt, allowing Tio to knock down his freebies for a three-point gap. Import Cam Oliver failed to connect a game-tying rainbow for TNT as time expired.

The Scores:

PHOENIX 91 — Wesson 23, Serrano 16, Mocon 13, Jazul 12, Lojera 6, Camacho 6, Anthony 6, Tio 4, Pascual 3, Muyang 0, Manganti 0, Rios 0, Garcia 0, Robles 0.

TNT 88 — Oftana 27, Pogoy 22, Oliver 20, Khobuntin 8, Castro 6, Montalbo 3, K.Williams 2, Heruela 0, Alejandro 0, Erram 0, Marcelo 0.

Quarters: 17-7, 47-38, 74-71, 91-88.

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