(Ynares Center Antipolo)
4:30 p.m. -- NLEX vs. Alaska
7 p.m. -- Magnolia vs. Talk N Text
IT was not exactly the kind of win that Phoenix coach Louie Alas wanted.
But Alas would take it anytime, anywhere.
The Fuel Masters rallied from the depth of a 16-point deficit to bring down Rain or Shine, 103-97, and boost their playoff chances in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.
Michael Phelps and Calvin Abueva scored 18 points apiece and Matthew Wright added 17 points for the Fuel Masters, who solidified their hold on fourth place with their seventh win in 10 matches in the season-ending, import-spiced tournament.
But although the win enabled Phoenix to strengthen its bid for a top four finish and a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals, Alas was far from satisfied.
“Hindi dapat lumamang ng ganun kalaki. Maraming carelessness at unforced turnovers. Hindi maganda yun attitude. Parang gustong manalo sa shootout instead of defensively,” said Alas after the game.
Phelps, Abueva, L.A. Revilla and RJ Jazul combined in a decisive 13-3 scoring run spanning six minutes that turned an 80-87 deficit into a 93-90 lead with 1:16 remaining.
Revilla himself capped the scoring binge with a wide-open three-pointer that broke the E-Painters’ back.
And after the E-Painters came to within 97-100, Abueva came through with a split free throw and Phelps scored on a dunk shot to complete the come-frm-behind win.
Chris Tiu finsihed with 24 points and James Yap added 14 points for Rain or Shine, which suffered its third straight setback and slipped to 2-7 overall.
Rain or Shine import Terrence Watson, however, had his worst game in the conference.
Watson was limited to only points, seven rebounds and three blocks before fouling out late in the fourth period.
Meanwhile, the league opens its 44th season with a bang by holding an overseas game a week after kicking off hostilities on Jan.13.
Twice postponed, a game pitting Barangay Ginebra and Rain or Shine will be finally held in Guam on Jan. 19 during the season-opening Philippine Cup.
PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial went to the U.S. territory last week to attend the formal press conference announcing that it’s finally all systems go for the staging of the first PBA game in Guam in more than a decade.
The match was originally scheduled last Oct. 13, but visa problems on the part of the league delegation set back the plan.
It was later reset to November, but with the FIBA World Cup qualifier set late in the month, the league can no longer adjust its schedule lest in risk the possibility of holding a game on Dec. 26 if and when the finals of the ongoing Governors Cup goes the full seven-game route.
Phoenix (103) -- Abueva 18, Phelps 18, Wright 17, Revilla 13, Chua 12, Perkins 10, Jazul 7, Intal 3, Wilson 3, Kramer 2, Alolino 0. Rain or Shine (97)-- Tiu 24, Yap 14, Ponferada 11, Ahanmisi 10, Borboran 9, Nambatac 8, Morwood 7, Washington 6, Watson 4, Daquioag 2, Maiquez 2, Torres 0. Quarterscores 27-21, 50-55, 74-84, 103-97.