MANILA, Philippines – Not even a 19-point deficit could prevent Rain or Shine from extending its winning streak as it hacked out a 108-106 triumph over Phoenix in the 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena on Saturday, June 16.
Reggie Johnson submitted another double-double of 32 points, 16 rebounds and 5 assists, but most importantly, hit timely buckets in the final frame for the Elasto Painters, who gained solo first by bagging their 5th straight win for an 8-1 card.
Down by as much as 9 points in the 4th quarter, 80-89, Rain or Shine slowly chiseled away from the Fuel Masters’ lead before James Yap knotted the score at 96-all off a triple with 6:51 minutes left.
With the momentum on their side, Johnson did his work down low and gave the Elasto Painters their first lead of the game with a short stab, 100-98.
The burly import scored again in the next possession and then assisted on a Raymond Almazan bucket for a 104-98 Rain or Shine lead.
But Phoenix refused to fold quickly and trimmed its deficit to a whisker following an RJ Jazul trey with 48.6 seconds left, 106-107.
The Fuel Masters had a chance to win it all after Gabe Norwood split his freebies in the final ticks of the duel but Matthew Wright’s last-gasp trey hit only the board.
Yap and Belga chipped in 13 points apience in the win while Almazan added 11 markers. Maverick Ahanmisi had 7 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists and two steals for Rain or Shine.
“It’s another hard-earned win for us. During halftime, I told the players that we can’t be complacent against any team as I felt that we didn’t want to win today’s game,” said Rain or Shine head coach Caloy Garcia.
Phoenix was groomed to halt its 3-game skid as it led 29-10 late in the maiden period thanks to Jeff Chan’s 14 first-quarter points.
Chan wound up with 23 points in the first half but was limited to just 3 in the final two periods as the Fuel Masters absorbed their 6th loss in 9 games.
Eugene Phelps chalked up 26 points, 14 rebounds, 7 assists and two blocks while Wright added 15 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists against 7 turnovers in the loss.
Rain or Shine (108): Johnson 32, Yap 13, Belga 13, Almazan 11, Tiu 9, Daquioag 7, Ponferada 7, Ahanmisi 7, Norwood 5, Borboran 2, Nambatac 2
Phoenix (106): Phelps 26, Chan 26, Wright 15, Jazul 13, Kramer 11, Wilson 6, Perkins 5, Chua 4, Revilla 0, Intal 0, Dehesa 0, Mendoza 0,
Quarter scores: 17-31, 45-57, 80-85, 108-106