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Phoenix logs emotional win

By: - Reporter / @MusongINQ
/ 09:08 PM December 28, 2016
Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

Mark Borboran capped a career-high night with a tip-in in the final 2.4 seconds Wednesday night as Phoenix Petroleum pulled out a 101-99 win over GlobalPort for a PBA Philippine Cup victory that sent coach Ariel Vanguardia to tears and gave him signs that his Fuel Masters have learned their lessons from defeats of the recent past.

And it was just the victory that Vanguardia’s team needs going into their last four games as they make one final push for the highest playoff position possible in the season-opening conference.

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Phoenix trailed by as large as 26 points and was 92-71 down with under eight minutes remaining before fighting doggedly hard at Cuneta Astrodome to post a come-from-behind win for a change and rise to 4-3 with a second straight win.

“I just asked them to win the fourth quarter,” a tearful Vanguardia said as he dedicated the victory to Bong Go, his mentor who passed away a couple of days ago. “It has been an emotional week for me.”

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Vanguardia admitted that his game plan was going nowhere in the early goings and that it was his fault that his Fuel Masters almost got buried in another hole they couldn’t come out of, like in losses to Star and TNT KaTropa.

The victory reinforces Vanguardia’s belief that something special could be in store for them for the rest of the eliminations after climbing in the top four of the standings going into their final four games.

“I am just asking them to stay positive,” he said as he continued to wipe tears. “We didn’t quit (in this game, unlike in the Star and TNT outings), and that’s what’s important as we go into our last four games.

“Like what I asked them (Fuel Masters) to do when we were 2-3 (in the standings), I want them to stay positive for our next four games,” he said. “If we can do that, who knows?”

Borboran had 12 points in the fourth and Cyrus Baguio had seven as the Fuel Masters dropped a league-high 40 in the quarter—24 of them in the final six minutes.

GlobalPort, which played without head coach Franz Pumaren, who was on a business trip abroad, lost for the second straight game and dropped to 3-3.

Rookie Matthew Wright had 19 points and Simon Enciso 14 for the Fuel Masters, while Terrence Romeo fired 32 to pace the Batang Pier.

Romeo, though, had two critical misses in the stretch, including the potential game-winning triple at the buzzer that was way short and offline.

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TAGS: 2017 Philippine Cup, Ariel Vanguardia, Bong Go, Cyrus Baguio, final, Fuel Masters, Mark Borboran, Matthew Wright, PBA, Phoenix, Terrence Romeo, winning
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