ANTIPOLO CITY - Rain or Shine pounced on an import-less Phoenix in the final three minutes to hack out an 89-82 comeback win on Sunday night in the PBA Commissioner's Cup.
The Elasto Painters went on a 9-0 run the moment Fuel Masters import Richard Howell committed his sixth and last foul as Denzel Bowles and Rey Nambatac combined to turn the game around for the Elasto Painters.
Bowles hit five straight points and Nambatac had four - including the free throw off a technical foul by Phoenix deputy Topex Robinson - in a whirwind finish that allowed the Elasto Painters to win back-to-back games for the first time this conference.
Phoenix, on the other hand, lost its second straight game since star forward Calvin Abueva was suspended indefinitely for a clothesline on TNT import Terrence Jones and lewd gestures directed at Ray Parks' girlfriend.
"We looked bad. Practically, I felt that we don't deserve this win. It's good Denzel was able to give us this win. He didn't want to lose," said Rain or Shine coach Caloy Garcia.
Topex Robinson called the shots for the Fuel Masters as head coach Louie Alas served out a two-game suspension.
Bowles fired 16 of his game-high 28 points in the fourth quarter including a booming three that gave the Elasto Painters the lead for good, 82-80, just a few minutes after Howell fouled out with 3:40 left.
Nambatac them drained another three before sinking the technical free throw after Robinson entered the court prematurely while asking for a timeout with the game clock still running.
Bowles also had 14 rebounds and five assists for the Elasto Painters, who evened their record to 2-2.
Javee Mocon added 15 points, the same output of two-time.MVP James Yap, who went out in the third quarter after sustaining a groin injury.
Nambatac also finished in double figures with 11.
Howell played better in his second outing with Phoenix as replacement for the injured Rob Dozier, hitting 27 points (5-of-9 from three-point range) to go with 13 rebounds. But he couldn't finish the game for the second straight time.
Matthew Wright led the Phoenix locals with 15 points, including a rare four-point play that gave the team its last taste of the lead at 80-77.
LA Revilla added 12 in the Fuel Masters' third straight loss for a 1-3 record.
Rain or Shine (89) - Bowles 28, Mocon 15, Yap 15, Nambatac 11, Norwood 9, Daquioag 4, Alejandro 3, Rosales 2, Borboran 2, Belga 0, Ponferada 0, Torres 0.
Phoenix (82) - Howell 27, Wright 15, Revilla 11, Jazul 7, Chua 7, Marcelo 7, Intal 3, Perkins 2, Kramer 0, Wilson 0, Dennison 0.
Quarterscores: 14-20; 32-39; 61-61; 89-82.