Phoenix halts Mahindra run
DOING what powerhouses before them fared miserably at, the Phoenix Petroleum Fuel Masters last night came charging back from 20 points down and pricked Mahindra’s bubble of invincibility in the PBA Governors’ Cup.
Mark Borboran hit 11 points and Cyrus Baguio added seven in the final frame—all of them clutch—as the duo took turns in hitting stinging shots that led to a 100-94 victory over the Enforcers, their second straight elimination round win at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.
Baguio finished with 22 points in playing his best game since being acquired from Alaska a couple of days before the start of the conference, while import Eugene Phelps scattered 23 that went with 21 rebounds as the Fuel Masters rose to 2-3.
The loss was the first in five games for the Enforcers, who couldn’t hold on to a 34-14 lead early in the second period.
That left TNT KaTropa the only unbeaten team and in the solo lead, with the Texters getting a chance to put some distance between them and the field when they clash with Blackwater in the first of two games making up the Petron Saturday Special schedule also at the Big Dome today.
The Texters and the Elite clash at 3 p.m. before Rain or Shine and Alaska try to get back on track at each other’s expense at 5:15 p.m.
NLEX snapped out of a three-game slide after getting 32 points and 11 rebounds from Henry Walker in an 88-85 victory over Star in the nightcap.
The Road Warriors rose to 2-3 while dropping the Hotshots to 1-4.
Benched the last time out, Borboran highlighted his fourth quarter performance with a four-point play in the final 1:51, which gave the Fuel Masters the lead for good, 93-90.
Baguio was responsible for setting up Borboran for that triple, before hitting an 18-foot jumper after losing Keith Agovida in a wicked crossover for a 95-92 lead heading into the final 74 seconds.
“That’s the value of Cyrus,” Phoenix coach Ariel Vanguardia told reporters. “He was a veteran presence in there and led the team in making the right decisions.”
Vanguardia had to sit Phelps for a good part of the fourth after his import cramped up, and Baguio rose to the challenge by holding the team together.
It was a finish that saved the Fuel Masters’ effort of coming back from that 20-point deficit, a hole which Vanguardia said he was responsible for.
“I think I screwed up the first half by pressuring my guys too much,” Vanguardia said. “They became tight, but they overcame the pressure [in the second half].”
James White paced the Enforcers with 24 points, and Aldrech Ramos, who was called for a deliberate foul in that Borboran triple, finished with 18 after being forced to sit out the remainder of the contest.
PHOENIX 100—Phelps 23, Baguio 22, Borboran 13, Lee 13, Cruz 6, Caperal 5, Lanete 5, Torres 4, Buenafe 3, Enciso 3, Wilson J. 2, Wilson W. 1, Pennisi 0.
MAHINDRA 94—White 24, Ramos 18, Taha 13, Canaleta 10, Digregorio 7, Agovida 6, Jaime 4, Yee 4, Aguilar 2, Guinto 2, Pinto 2, Webb 2, Zandi 0, Elorde 0.
Quarters: 13-24, 44-45, 68-71, 100-94
NLEX 88—Walker 32, Lanete 15, Taulava 10, Villanueva J. 10, Alas 7, Anthony 6, Khobuntin 4, Akl 2, Soyud 2, Villanueva E. 0.
STAR 85—Wright 28, Barroca 15, Pingris 14, Melton 8, Yap 8, Sangalang 4, Simon 4, Maliksi 2, Pascual 2, Garcia 0, Mallari 0, Reavis 0.
Quarters: 29-22, 42-39, 65-60, 88-85
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