Johnson stars as Rain or Shine escapes Phoenix to gain solo top spot

Delfin Dioquino
Johnson stars as Rain or Shine escapes Phoenix to gain solo top spot
The Elasto Painters bagged their 5th straight win to improve to a league-leading 8-1 record

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. 


The Scores:

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

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.