Phoenix denied Rain or Shine a shot at a twice-to-beat playoff bonus in the PBA Philippine Cup with a come-from-behind 90-88 win at the Angeles University Foundation in Pampanga on Wednesday, November 11.
Jason Perkins exploded for 30 points and 8 rebounds and hit a crucial bucket in the final minute as the Fuel Masters stormed back from 14 points down to formally lock up the win-once incentive in the quarterfinals.
Despite finishing with identical 8-3 records with Barangay Ginebra, Phoenix settled for the No. 2 seed by virtue of losing in their elimination round duel.
Needing to win by at least 4 points to clinch the twice-to-beat advantage, the Elasto Painters seemed destined to achieve the feat after seizing a 78-64 lead with 10 minutes left off a lucky basket from Jewel Ponferada.
Rey Nambatac lobbied a pass to Ponferada but the ball slipped from his hands and bounced off the glass for the miraculous bucket.
But the Fuel Masters fought back and unloaded a barrage of three-pointers for a back-breaking 22-7 run, capped off by the Perkins short stab with 38 ticks left that gave them an 86-85 lead.
Phoenix then forced James Yap to miss a three-pointer as Calvin Abueva and Justin Chua secured the win with an easy layup and a pair of free throws, respectively.
Chua finished with 21 points, including 5 in the last 1:30 minutes, and 10 rebounds, while Abueva churned out 7 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists.
Matthew Wright had 11 points and 8 assists for Phoenix, which will face the No. 7 Magnolia in the quarterfinals.
Javee Mocon put up 13 points, 7 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 2 steals in the loss, while Ponferada added 13 points off the bench.
With the loss, Rain or Shine wrapped up the elimination round with a 6-5 record and remained at 8th place, setting up a quarterfinals date with top seed Ginebra.
The other quarterfinals pairings pit No. 3 TNT versus No. 6 Alaska and No. 4 San Miguel versus No. 5 Meralco.
Phoenix 90 – Perkins 30, Chua 21, Wright 11, Abueva 7, Jazul 6, Intal 5, Heruela 3, Garcia 3, Napoles 2, Rios 2, Marcelo 0, Mallari 0.
Rain or Shine 88 – Ponferada 13, Mocon 13, Belga 12, Yap 8, Nambatac 7, Torres 7, Arana 6, Doliguez 6, Onwubere 6, Borboran 4, Rivero 2, Norwood 2, Rosales 2, Wong 0, Tolentino 0.
Quarters: 21-24, 46-42, 59-66, 90-88.