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Phoenix gets away with fourth straight win

MANILA, Philippines — Phoenix refueled after squandering an eight-point lead and eked out a 99-98 thriller over Converge to go four in a row in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup yesterday at the PhilSports Arena.

Rookie Ken Tuffin knocked down a big-time layup with 5.0 seconds left to save the Fuel Masters from the blushes after the rallying FiberXers wrested the driver’s seat in the previous play.

Aljun Melecio went for the game-winner in Converge’s final possession but his shot fell short. Javee Mocon grabbed the rebound to preserve Phoenix’ fifth win in six outings while extending the woes of its prey (0-5).

Jonathan Williams III, unwavering despite losing his contact lens early in the game, delivered 27 points, including nine in the fourth, with 16 rebounds, six assists, two steals and two blocks to anchor Phoenix.

“That only shows how big of a heart he has,” coach Jamike Jarin said as he profusely thanked his reinforcement, who soldiered on for 46 minutes.

Williams joined forces with newbies Tuffin and Ricci Rivero in putting Phoenix in control and holding leads of 82-74 and 93-85 in the fourth.

The FiberXers turned to three-point shooting to claw back in with Tom Vodanonich’s putback even sending them ahead, 98-97, with 10.4 ticks left.

Jarin’s charges countered with a cleanly executed play that saw Perkins finding Tuffin underneath for the game-winner.

“There were many options and one of those was KT (Tuffin), if there was no pass. Good thing, Perks (Perkins) saw him. They had a scramble in the back screen on J3 (Williams) and fortunate for us, KT made the basket,” said Jarin.

Perkins backstopped Williams with 20.