COLUMBIAN Dyip played like there’s no more tomorrow and turned to Reden Celda for the marginal basket in a 100-98 victory over Phoenix in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Petron Blaze Saturday Special at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The win was only the third in 10 outings for the Dyip, who have to beat Ginebra in the penultimate day of the elimination on July 14 for a possible crack at playoff berth in case of a three-way or a four-way tie for the seventh and eighth spots.
The Fuel Masters, who were riding on back-to-back wins, tumbled to their fifth loss in nine games, but nevertheless stayed at sixth spot.
The Fuel Masters tied the count for the last time at 98-all on triple by Matthew Wright from the right corner with 32 seconds left.
The Fuel Masters even got a chance to take the lead after Richard Howell came up with a steal in what looked like a Columbian broken play. Howell readily passed it off to an advancing RJ Jazul who went for layup but was rejected by Khobuntin.
The Dyip secured the rebound, with Celda going for a difficult drive that shattered the 98-all count and put Columbian on top to stay, 100-98, with still 9.3 seconds remaining.
The Fuel Masters sued for time for a possible game-tying quick basket or game-winning triple, but they lost much of the remaining time and failed to make a good attempt at the basket owing to the Dyip’s tight defense.
Lester Prosper led the Columbian with 25 points and 21 rebounds, and got remarkable backups from Rashawn McCarthy, CJ Perez and Celda who combined for 54 points.
Going the drain was Howell’s big game highlighted by 35 points, 23 rebounds and seven steals for Phoenix as well as Wright’s 23 points.
Meanwhile, Barangay Ginebra sets out today, looking for its second straight win that will rev up its bid for a spot in one of two best-of-3 quarterfinal series, but will have to deal with a Magnolia team that’s seeking to rebound from last Friday’s stinging loss to Blackwater.
The Gin Kings and the Hotshots meet at 6:45 p.m. as they rekindle their sort of rivalry more popularly known as the Manila Classico at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“Magnolia is really going to be a great test for us,” said Ginebra coach Tim Cone, recalling the Gin Kings’ playoff loss to the Hotshots in the last two conferences.
“They have knocked us out in the playoffs the last two conferences, and they’ve always been a tough matchup for us because of their backcourt quickness,” added Cone. “We’ll see if our re-jiggered lineup with Stanley (Pringle) can make a difference. This game has great playoff ramifications for both teams. It should be a great Manila Classico.”
The Gin Kings are riding on the momentum of 118-106 rout of Alaska last June 30, while the Hotshots are hoping to rebound from a 104-99 overtime loss to Blackwater last Wednesday. Both Ginebra and Magnolia are in the middle of the standings, with the former toting a 5-4 slate, half a game behind the 5-3 Hotshots.
Columbian (100) - Prosper 25, McCarthy 19, Perez 18, Celda 17, Khobuntin 6, Reyes 5, Camson 4, Escoto 4, Cahilig 2, Faundo 0, Tabi 0.
Phoenix (98) - Howell 35, Wright 23, Jazul 12, Intal 8, Mallari 7, Perkins 7, Chua 6, Kramer 0, Marcelo 0, Napoles 0, Dennison 0.
Quarterscores: 22-27, 49-40, 73-71, 100-98