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RIZAL, Philippines – Johnathan Williams III flirted with a triple-double and towed Phoenix to a nail-biting 99-98 win over Rain or Shine in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Ynares Center in Antipolo on Saturday, November 18.
The former NBA player churned out 29 points, 18 rebounds, 7 assists, and 3 blocks for the Fuel Masters, who squandered a lead as big as 20 points but held on down the stretch to improve to 2-1.
A free throw by Williams gave Phoenix a 99-92 lead with 1:20 minutes remaining before the Elasto Painters inched within a whisker following back-to-back three-pointers from Jhonard Clarito and Leonard Santillan.
Jayson Perkins’ muffed three-pointer set up a wild scramble, but the Fuel Masters ultimately recovered the ball and Williams missed his two foul shots to let the 1.3 ticks left on the clock run out.
Perkins finished with 14 points and 7 rebounds, Tyler Tio put up 10 points, 4 assists, and 2 steals, while Sean Manganti added 10 points and 4 rebounds in the victory.
Rookie guard Ricci Rivero chimed in 9 points off the bench for the Fuel Masters, including the free throw that pushed their lead to its biggest at 46-26 midway through the second period.
But Rain or Shine closed out the first half on a 23-5 run powered by Dajuan Summers’ 9 points to narrow the gap to 49-51 and seized the upper hand at 78-74 going into the final salvo.
It did not take long, though, for Phoenix to erect another double-digit cushion as it led 93-82 with five minutes remaining before the Elasto Painters saw their comeback fall short.
Santillan had 17 points and 5 rebounds for Rain or Shine, which dropped to 0-3 for a tie for the last spot with Converge.
Phoenix 99 – Williams 29, Perkins 14, Tio 13, Manganti 10, Tuffin 9, Rivero 9, Mocon 6, Alejandro 3, Jazul 3, Muyang 2, Verano 1, Daves 0, Camacho 0
Rain or Shine 98 – Santillan 17, Caracut 15, Summers 15, Belo 9, Nambatac 9, Clarito 9, Mamuyac 7, Belga 7, Demusis 4, Borboran 4, Ildefonso 2, Norwood 0
Quarters: 27-16, 51-49, 74-78, 99-98.