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PBA: Encho Serrano notches career-high as Phoenix stretches win streak to four

ANTIPOLO – Encho Serrano displayed maturity beyond his years once more as Phoenix Super LPG withstood Rain or Shine, 92-83, to become the hottest team in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, Wednesday at the Ynares Center here.

The Kapampangan rookie notched a career-high 18 points, including six of the Fuel Masters’ last nine points as he rescued his side from the threat imposed by the Elasto Painters, who nearly erased an 18-point third-quarter deficit.

He shot 7-of-10 from the floor and collected five rebounds, five assists, and a block in 21 minutes off the bench as they won their fourth consecutive game — now the longest active winning streak in the mid-season conference.

“He wants to take this opportunity, he never shies away from that,” lauded head coach Topex Robinson of Serrano. “What I like about him is he takes ownership in his actions, he knows that he has a lot of opportunity here in this team.

“This opportunity, ‘pag hindi niya hinawakan, somebody will take it. And so far, he’s really been holding on to this opportunity,” he furthered.

Kaleb Wesson top-scored for Phoenix with 21 points and 17 rebounds in the victory that improved the team’s record to 4-3 in the standings.

The young American was one of the reasons why the Fuel Masters were able to take control in the second quarter, but foul trouble got in his way that led him to the bench early in the fourth — a situation RoS took advantage of.

Behind Steve Taylor Jr. and Gian Mamuyac, the Elasto Painters got to within just three, 86-83, with 1:55 remaining in the final period.

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But that’s when Serrano came through, nailing a tough lay-up against the defense before splitting his foul shots to make it 89-83 with 56.1 seconds left.

Wesson and RJ Jazul then did their part with respective trips to the foul line, applying the finishing touches to secure their fourth win in a row.

“I’ve been with Coach Yeng and he always puts so much emphasis on being mentally tough. So I’m just passing on what I learned from Coach Yeng — to handle the situation, be mentally tough, and try to hold on to the opportunity,” he said.

“Kasi nga ‘yun naman talaga ‘yung importante if we’re gonna play against any Coach Yeng Guiao team. You have to be mentally tough.”

Jazul finished with 11 points for Phoenix, who will try to extend its streak against the third-running TNT on Sunday at 6:45 p.m. in the same venue.

Taylor Jr., meanwhile, led Rain or Shine with 16 points and 19 rebounds in the loss that dropped them to a share of ninth with NorthPort at 3-4. Mamuyac had 14 points while Rey Nambatac added 12 markers.

The Elasto Painters will look to rebound quickly on Saturday against the second-best team in the league in Magnolia at 6:45 p.m. in Ynares as well.

The Scores:

Phoenix Super LPG 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.

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Quarterscores: 19-22, 48-42, 72-59, 92-83.

The second game of each PBA gameday is live-streamed on SMART Sports.

Written By

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.

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