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Abueva’s defensive play preserves Phoenix’s clean slate vs NLEX

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Calvin Abueva’s huge defensive play in the dying seconds saved the Phoenix Fuel Masters from the very treacherous NLEX Road Warriors, 83-82, on Friday night at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

Abueva blocked Bong Galanza’s three-point heave with less than two seconds left to play to help Phoenix keep its slate clean at 5-0.

The win gave Phoenix the solo top spot of the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup.

Abueva’s grit also saved the Fuel Masters from a huge meltdown, as they almost a 17-point lead theyposted built in the first half.

The 6-foot-2 forward finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds.

Matthew Wright, meanwhile, topscored for Phoenix with 17 points, 5 rebounds, and 6 assists. Jason Perkins chipped in 14 markers and 11 rebounds.

Phoenix waxed hot in the first half to post an early 32-15 cushion in the second frame.

The Road Warriors fought back in the second and third canto to takeover with a 54-45 lead.

Wright then solely carried Phoenix with a 9-0 run to give his side the driver seat back, 83-77, with 2:45 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Galanza and Philip Paniamogan though combined for 5 straight points to bridge the gap, 82-83, with 56.4 left on the clock.

Perkins missed the go-ahead bucket, to give NLEX back the possession and go for the game winner with 2.3 seconds left to play.

Galanza’s three-pointer, however, got swatted away by Abueva. Phoenix then got the ball and kept it to preserve the win.