ANTIPOLO – Rain or Shine turned to a hot start and a steady finish as it added to the frustrations of Phoenix with a 116-111 decision on Wednesday night to enhance its postseason bid in the PBA Governors’ Cup.
J’Nathan Bullock scored the Elasto Painters’ first 17 points to anchor his team’s start, before the locals took over down the stretch to make up for a sluggish showing in the third quarter as the E-Painters got back on the winning track and improved to a 5-3 win-loss record.
Raymond Almazan and Gabe Norwood shone brightest among the locals of the E-Painters, who eliminated the Fuel Masters from contention after dealing their opponents their eighth successive setback after two wins to start the conference.
The E-Painters also gave former star Jeff Chan a rude welcome in his first game against his former team.
“We’re lucky we won the game,” ROS coach Caloy Garcia said. “We started strong, but our energy was down in the third quarter. If we are to go further this conference, we have to see our mistakes in the third.”
Bullock finished with 33 points, eight boards, four assists, three steals, and one block, but the ROS import cooled down in the third quarter where the E-Painters saw their double-digit lead that grew to as many as 18 points disappear, just regaining a one-point lead entering the payoff period following a putback slam by Gabe Norwood.
The E-Painters, though, regained their bearings when it mattered most as they proved steadier in the fourth quarter with Norwood scoring on another putback dunk that gave ROS a 105-101 lead with 55 seconds left and proved to seal the deal.
Almazan anchored the low blocks with 25 points, 11 boards, and two blocks in 30 minutes, while Norwood finished with 17 points, six boards, three assists, and one steal without committing a single turnover in over 33 minutes of play.
The result spoiled the explosions of Brandon Brown and Matthew Wright, who both breached the 30-point barrier for the Fuel Masters.
ROS 116 – Bullock 33, Almazan 25, Norwood 17, Cruz 14, Yap 9, Borboran 7, Tiu 6, Ahanmisi 5, Trollano 0, Belga 0, Matias 0
PHOENIX 111 – Wright 36, Brown 33, Jazul 9, Wilson W. 8, Kramer 8, Intal 7, Chan 6, Lanete 2, Eriobu 2, Alolino 0, Miranda 0, Dehesa 0
Quarterscores: 24-18, 61-45, 85-84, 116-111