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Surging Painters wrest top spot

Overtake Fuel Masters for lead; Beermen keep Hotshots winless
/ 05:08 AM February 11, 2019
Phoenix Rain or Shine

Rain or Shine center Raymond Almazan beats three Phoenix players for the loose ball. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

Louie Alas regarded Rain or Shine the next hottest team to his Phoenix Pulse.

On Sunday night, the Elasto Painters turned that around, carving out a 98-94 decision in overtime against the Fuel Masters in the PBA Philippine Cup curtain-riser at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

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“Another good win for us. Phoenix came back …  They didn’t stop. That’s probably why they’re on the top: they never give up.  They fought their hearts out,” said coach Caloy Garcia after pinning a first loss in six games on Alas and his Fuel Masters.

With James Yap struggling all night, it was Kris Rosales who made the most impact. He fired 16 points to tie his career-best scoring output.

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“James wasn’t as lucky, but other players stepped up,” Garcia said of the veteran, who has been crucial in Rain or Shine’s previous victories.   “Today it was Kris in the beginning.  We had a good start and our bigs in the end were the factors in the end—when Raymond (Almazan) got that rebound, even Beau (Belga) was setting good screens.”

Belga also had 16 points to go with nine rebounds and seven assists.  Almazan accounted for 13 in the affair, four of which coming in the extra period.

In the nightcap, Arwind Santos was on fire all night while Terrence Romeo mounted his best scoring performance in a San Miguel uniform as the Beermen made mincemeat of sister team Magnolia Hotshots, 113-92.

Santos paced San Miguel with 29 points while Romeo had 23 more as the four-time defending champion improved to 4-3.

Magnolia has yet to win in two starts.

Rain or Shine, now flaunting a league-best 6-1 record, takes on the Hotshots on Feb. 13 before the league takes a break for the national team which resumes its bid in the Fiba World Cup qualifying matches on Feb. 21 and 24.

Phoenix, which dropped to No. 2 with a 5-1 slate, takes on NorthPort when  the tournament resumes on Feb. 27.

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Jason Perkins also had the finest scoring performance of his young career, pouring in 27 points and grabbing nine boards for Phoenix.

Calvin Abueva and Matthew Wright both chimed in 16 including a couple of crucial plays in the fourth period, but they fell flat when it mattered.

Garcia lauded his wards who made significant contributions in the tussle.  But his words of praise came with a warning: They could not take their next assignment lightly.

“We play Magnolia on Wednesday and it’s going to be difficult because we know throughout the conference, they’re only going to get better,” he said.

First Game:

RAIN OR SHINE 98—Belga 16, Rosales 16, Ahanmisi 13, Almazan 12, Nambatac 10, Norwood 8, Torres 6, Borboran 5, Maiquez 4, Daquioag 4, Yap 2, Mocon 1, Ponferada 1.

PHOENIX 94—Perkins 27, Wright 16, Abueva 16, Mallari 12, Jazul 7, Kramer 6, Mendoza 5, Marcelo 3, Napoles 2, Dennison 0, Chua 0, Revilla 0.

Quarters: 24-20, 45-36, 70-61, 87-87 (reg.), 98-94 (OT)

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TAGS: Basketball, PBA, PBA Philippine Cup
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