PBA: Phoenix continues rise, beats Rain or Shine
ANTIPOLO CITY — Encho Serrano came up big down the stretch as Phoenix stretched its streak to four straight victories after holding off Rain or Shine, 92-83, in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Wednesday at Ynares Center here.
The rookie scored six of his team’s last nine points to help the Fuel Masters continue their turnaround after opening the midseason conference with three straight defeats.
He finished with 18 points in a performance that once again proved why Phoenix was so fortunate to snatch the acrobatic cager from Pampanga during the second round of the PBA Rookie Draft.
“That just shows that he’s ready,” Phoenix coach Topex Robinson said of Serrano, who he placed back on the court with 2:34 remaining in the fourth quarter.
At that point, Phoenix saw a lead that went as high as 18 during the third quarter evaporate to five.
Serrano sank an open three from the corner to extend Phoenix’s margin to eight at 86-78, but had part in allowing Rain or Shine to close the gap further when he was called for a deliberate foul while trying to prevent import Steve Taylor Jr. from scoring underneath.
Taylor made two free throws before Gian Mamuyac drained a three which made it a one possession game with the Fuel Masters ahead 86-83. But Serrano responded, scoring a tough layup before the Elasto Painters went empty handed the rest of the way.
Import Kaleb Wesson had 21 points and 17 rebounds for the Fuel Masters despite dealing with foul trouble.
Taylor posted 16 points and 19 rebounds but coach Yeng Guiao felt his reinforcement can do more after Rain or Shine fell to 3-4.
PHOENIX 92 — Wesson 21, Serrano 18, Jazul 11, Anthony 9, Pascual 8, Manganti 7, Mocon 5, Tio 5, Rios 4, Adamos 2, Robles 2, Camacho 0, Lojera 0, Lalata 0, Garcia 0
RAIN OR SHINE 83 — Taylor Jr. 16, Mamuyac 14, Nambatac 12, Asistio 9, Belga 8, Caracut 5, Demusis 5, Norwood 5, Ponferrada 5, Santillan 2, Borboran 2, Nieto 0
Quarters: 19-22, 48-42, 72-59, 92-83.