Encho Serrano strapped Phoenix Super LPG on his back and towed them past Converge, 106-103, to win back-to-back outings for the first time in the PBA Governors’ Cup, Sunday evening at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
The rookie guard scored all of his 28 points in the second half, none bigger than the go-ahead one-hander to break the 103-all deadlock with 18.7 ticks left to play as he willed his side back from a 12-point third-quarter deficit.
Solid coverage on Jamaal Franklin plus Tyler Tio’s split from the line were all enough to complete the comeback — and keep their playoff hopes very much alive as the ball club improved to 3-5 in the team standings.
“Lagi lang sinasabi ni Coach Jamike na always ready lang. Kasi kanina, noong first half, iniisip ko, gusto ko kasing tumulong talaga,” said Serrano as he was scoreless in the entire first half.
“Noong pinasok ako ni Coach Jamike, ‘yung confidence ko, hindi naman nawawala kasi knowing coach Jamike, alam ko naman na gagamitin niya ako kaya yung kumpiyansa ko hindi naman mawawala,” the native of Pampanga added.
Du’Vaughn Maxwell came through with 19 points, 15 rebounds, three assists, three steals, and a game-high five blocks in the win.
Tio and Jason Perkins also made their own marks by finishing with 16 points apiece for Phoenix in the come-from-behind victory.
“As we said before the game, we got a good rest coming into this game so that was our advantage. We were ready to go up and down for 48 minutes,” offered interim head coach Jamike Jarin.
“I think they got a little tired towards the end, that’s why we were able to get the win,” offered the veteran bench tactician.
Jamaal Franklin, meanwhile, led Converge with 30 points, 12 rebounds, and seven assists in the loss that dropped the team to 6-3.
Wasted by the defeat too was the solid performances of numerous players in Jerrick Balanza, Alec Stockton, Justin Arana, Kevin Racal, and Jeron Teng, who each supplied 11 markers. Maverick Ahanmisi added 10.
Phoenix Super LPG 106 – Serrano 28, Maxwell 19, Perkins 16, Tio 16, Muyang 8, Mocon 7, Camaco 4, Jazul 3, Manganti 3, Garcia 2, Alejandro 0.
Converge 103 – Franklin 30, Stockton 11, Balanza 11, Racal 11, Teng 11, Ahanmisi 10, Arana 8, Ebona 4, Tratter 4, Browne 0.
Quarterscores: 23-24, 42-49, 66-69, 106-103.
The second game of each PBA gameday is live-streamed on SMART Sports.