Rain or Shine comes back to beat Phoenix for 5th straight win
Rain or Shine erased an early game deficit to edge Phoenix, 108-106, to retain its spot atop the 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Saturday at Mall of Asia Arena.
The Elasto Painters chipped away at Phoenix’ 19-point lead, 29-10, in the first period and slowly built up their momentum in the second half to take their fifth straight victory and get a league-best 8-1 record.
With Rain or Shine trailing, 96-90, early in the fourth, James Yap scored six straight points to start off the Elasto Painters’ 14-2 run for a 104-98 lead at the 4:11 mark of the quarter.
The Elasto Painters, however, were unsteady at the start of the game and allowed Jeff Chan and Eugene Phelps to match them in scoring with the two Fuel Masters scoring a combined 45 points after the first 24 minutes.
“It’s another hard-earned win for us, and during half time I told the players we can’t be complacent against any team as I felt we didn’t want to win today’s game,” said Rain or Shine head coach Caloy Garcia. “I just told them we have to at least keep the game close to have a chance at beating Phoenix.”
“They were playing so good especially Jeff and Eugene who tied us at halftime in terms of scoring, they had 45 we had 45.”
Rain or Shine eventually clamped down on the defensive end forcing Chan and Phelps to go a combined 2-of-11 in the second half.
And defense was also the key factor in stopping the Fuel Masters down the stretch with Reggie Johnson forcing Phelps to miss a layup with 5.9 seconds left to preserve Rain or Shine’s 107-106 lead.
Johnson, who finished with a game-high 32 points on top of 17 rebounds, then, followed up his defensive stop on Phelps with a crucial challenge on Matthew Wright, whose attempt hit the backboard on his last heave.
Yap, who had eight points in the fourth quarter, and Beau Belga finished with 13 points apiece to help the Elasto Painters while Raymond Almazan added 11 points.
Phelps and Chan eventually finished with 26 points apiece for the Fuel Masters while Wright had 16 points, eight rebounds, and five assists.
Get the hottest sports news straight into your inbox
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.