ANTIPOLO -- Petron Blaze escaped with a 90-88 win over Rain or Shine on Friday night, dealing the league leader only its second loss in the PBA Governors Cup at the Ynares Center.
The Boosters squandered a 17-point first-half lead and the defending champions had to scramble late to pull off the win, their sixth against four losses in the season-ending tournament.
Import replacement Marcus Faison scored 20 points behind a 3-for-5 clip from three-point land but showed signs of fatigue towards the end after arriving in the country just last Thursday.
The 34-year-old Belgian-American almost cost the game for the Boosters as he committed a turnover off a timeout that translated into a Rain or Shine fastbreak basket by Gabe Norwood with 30 seconds left, cutting down Petron's lead to 88-86.
“Kararating lang kaya siguro ganun, pero meron pa ibibigay na tulong 'yan,” Boosters coach Ato Agustin said. “He was still a big help for us.”
Alex Cabagnot missed a layup in Petron's possession, but Arwind Santos was left open and scored the insurance putback that made it a 90-86 game.
It was Santos’ only two points of the second half after scoring 10 in the first.
“Hindi natin maiwasan yung (rally ng kalaban), but still naka-recover pa rin kami,” Agustin said. “Ang importante hindi bumaba energy namin. Mas agresibo kami sa kanila, makikita naman sa rebounds.”
The Boosters dominated the boards with 58 rebounds, 21 more than the Painters. Three Boosters recorded nine or more rebounds, with Dorian Pena having 10 and Faison and Santos adding nine, respectively.
Jamelle Cornley, who scored the game's final two points, had 36 points, 10 rebounds and four assists for the Painters, who dropped to 8-2 overall -- still the best in the league in the carry-over semifinals.
PETRON (90) -- Faison 20, Yeo 14, Santos 12, Washington 11, Cabagnot 9, Lutz 7, Reyes 6, Miranda 6, Pena 5, Baclao 0, Hontiveros 0.
RAIN OR SHINE (88) -- Cornely 36, Lee 15, Norwood 10, Chan 10, Cruz 7, Belga 6, Matias 2, Tang 2, Arana 0, Quinahan 0, Buenafe 0, Ibanes 0.
Quarterscores: 29-24, 56-39, 72-62, 90-88