JASON Perkins hit two free throws with 7.2 seconds left as Phoenix Pulse escaped with a 98-96 win over NorthPort on Wednesday night in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Perkins’ marginal charities allowed the Fuel Masters to return to their winning ways after a setback to Rain or Shine just before the league went on a Fiba break, improving to 6-1 (win-loss) overall.
The match was not without controversy as NorthPort was left fuming after a three-pointer by Sean Anthony with 47.8 seconds left was waived off by the referees who instead called an offensive foul on the NorthPort forward against Justin Chua.
NorthPort officials led by head coach Pido Jarencio were furious with the call as the Batang Pier fell short of what would have been a morale-boosting victory in the absence of suspended star Stanley Pringle.
Other NorthPort officials led by team governor Erick Arejola also confronted the referees in the hallway leadinf to the locker rooms after the game.
The Batang Pier slipped to 2-3.
Matthew Wright scored 22 points while Justin Chua added 19 points and nine rebounds for Phoenix, which is enjoying its finest start to a conference in franchise history.
“At least ‘yung character namin defensively, medyo nag-iimprove na,” said Phoenix Pulse coach Louie Alas. “Pang-apat na panalo namin ito dahil sa stops. ‘Yun pa rin ang ipe-preach namin.”
Mo Tautuaa led the Batang Pier with 22 points while Anthony had 20 points before fouling out before of the contentious call.
Phoenix Pulse 98 – Wright 22, Chua 19, Abueva 14, Perkins 12, Jazul 10, Revilla 9, Mallari 7, Kramer 2, Dennison 2, Marcelo 1, Napoles 0, Gueverra 0, Mendoza 0.
NorthPort 96 – Tautuaa 22, Anthony 20, Elorde 15, Taha 10, Bolick 10, Guinto 8, Arana 6, Grey 3, Lanete 2, Sollano 0, Flores 0, Gabayni 0.
Quarters: 20-13; 41-38; 67-63; 98-96.