Phoenix Super LPG averted disaster and escaped the second-half onslaught of an all-Filipino Rain or Shine, 114-106, to continue its heater run in the 2023 PBA Governors’ Cup, Wednesday at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
Du’Vaughn Maxwell struck the dagger through a reverse with 32.2 seconds left, before Tyler Tio and Larry Muyang added to the lead through their splits to ward off the Elasto Painters, who got to within just four after being down by 23.
“I’d like to give kudos to coach Yeng Guiao, to his staff and his players. They were at a disadvantage going into this game,” said coach Jamike Jarin as they faced a team without an import due to height problems.
RR Garcia and Encho Serrano led the way with 17 points apiece off the bench as the two guards helped captain the Fuel Masters’ fiery 19-0 blitz abridging the first and second quarters for a 32-14 lead to stay ahead the rest of the way.
Jason Perkins made 16 points, while Maxwell filled up the stat sheet with his 15 points, 13 rebounds, four assists, five steals, and five blocks.
Tio added 14 for Phoenix, who’s currently at no. 8 in the standings as it improved to 4-5 after extending its winning streak to three.
Jarin’s charges took down a Rain or Shine side that was forced to play all-Filipino for the third time this conference after Jordan Tolbert, supposed to replace Greg Smith II, exceeded the 6-foot-6 height limit.
He was measured at 6’6″ 1/8 by the league and the club was only informed of the development about two hours prior to the match.
Still, the Elasto Painters braved through the setback, going out of the halftime break with their guns ablaze as they outscored their counterparts 30-22 to head into the final period trailing by a manageable deficit, 89-76.
They would go on to inch closer especially in the endgame, when Rey Nambatac’ cut the gap to 110-106 with 36.7 seconds to go.
But then, Maxwell refused to see his side collapse, scoring off a reverse from the baseline over the defense of Leonard Santillan to make it a six-point lead with 32.2 seconds left, and they’d go on to leave with the W in the bag.
“We were up big but you can see the heart in them. You have to give credit to the coaching staff and players of Rain or Shine,” said Jarin.
Santillan and Norbert Torres had 14 points apiece to lead Rain or Shine, who fell into a precarious position after absorbing its seventh loss in nine games.
Phoenix 114 – Garcia 17, Serrano 17, Perkins 16, Maxwell 15, Tio 14, Muyang 8, Manganti 7, Mocon 7, Lalata 6, Jazul 3, Lojera 3, Alejandro 1, Camacho 0, Adamos 0, Go 0.
Rain or Shine 106 – Santillan 14, Torres 14, Belga 13, Nambatac 11, Mamuyac 10, Borboran 8, Ildefonso 7, Nieto 6, Yap 5, Demusis 5, Norwood 5, Caracut 5, Asistio 3, Ponferrada 0, Clarito 0.
Quarterscores: 29-14, 67-46, 89-76, 114-106