IT took a fellow David to defeat a Goliath-killer.
Phoenix sent Mahindra back to earth, dealing the Enforcers their first loss with a 100-94 decision on Friday night in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Fuel Masters overhauled an early double-digit deficit, before turning to Cyrus Baguio and unlikely hero Mark Borboran down the stretch with import Eugene Phelps cramping as they notched a second straight win after losing their first three outings.
“Medyo tight kami to start the game; binigyan ko sila ng malaking pressure. Good thing, may mga veterans kami in the team that kept us together,” Fuel Masters coach Ariel Vanguardia said. “Alam natin what Cyrus can give us.”
After pulling off stunning wins over veteran playoff contenders, the Enforcers lost for the first time in five games, to a fellow young team, to drop to a share of second spot with Ginebra.
After exploding for 52 points in his debut, Phelps was held to 23 points on just 12 attempts, although he hauled down 21 boards and dished out three assists against committing six turnovers in 35 minutes as he suffered cramps in a crucial stretch.
Baguio came to the rescue as the prized trade recruit scored seven of his 22 points in the final frame, including two on a dagger midrange jumper over Keith Agovida that gave the Fuel Masters a 95-92 lead with a little over a minute left.
Borboran also shone by scattering all but two of his 13 points in the payoff period, including four on a crucial four-point play that put them up for good, pouncing on a flagrant foul 1 call on Aldrech Ramos, who committed a landing-spot violation.
James White led the Enforcers with 24 points and 12 boards, while Ramos added 18 markers and Nino Canaleta chipped in 10, but missed a potential game-tying three-pointer in the endgame.
PHOENIX 100 – Phelps 23, Baguio 22, Borboran 13, Lee 13, Cruz 6, Caperal 5, Lanete 5, Torres 4, Buenafe 3, Enciso 3, Wilson J. 2, Wilson W. 1, Pennisi 0
MAHINDRA 94 – White 24, Ramos 18, Taha 13, Canaleta 10, Digregorio 7, Agovida 6, Jaime 4, Yee 4, Aguilar 2, Guinto 2, Pinto 2, Webb 2, Zandi 0, Elorde 0
Quarterscores: 13-24, 44-45, 68-71, 100-94