PHOENIX displayed a masterful endgame last night as it turned back Mahindra with a come-from-behind 100-94 victory in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Fuel Masters notched their second straight win to improve to a 2-3 win-loss record while snapping the Enforcers’ four-game winning run in the process.
Import Eugene Phelps paved the way for Phoenix’s comeback in the payoff period, finishing with 23 points and 21 rebounds, while Cyrus Baguio led the locals in scoring with 22 points.
Mark Borboran and Asian import Lee Kwan Hee contributed 13 points each.
Despite the win, though, Fuel Masters coach Ariel Vanguardia said that he really had bad decisions at the start.
“I think I screwed up at the start of the game,” said Vanguardia. “But sabi ko sa kanila, patunayan natin, kung kailangan nating manalo, nananalo tayo.”
“I’d like to test kung paano nila maha-handle yung pressure.”
But Vanguardia had high praises for his wards, especially Baguio.
“Si Cyrus ( Baguio) nakapagpahabol sa lamang, he made good decisions,” said Vanguardia. “Mark (Borboran) also played a hell of a game, I told him na ito yung chance niya, kaya ready lang siya.”
“Phelps was overeager din to prove that his 52-point production is no fluke,” he added.
After playing catch-up in the first three quarters, Phoenix suddenly came to life and tied the game at 84-all courtesy of Baguio, Phelps and Borboran.
Baguio then struck a trey and a jumper in the next frame to give the Fuel Masters an 89-86 advantage in the final three minutes.
The Enforcers managed to take back the lead, 90-89, but Borboran, Baguio and Willie Wilson fired up an 11-4 run for a 95-92 lead with 1:15 left.
Down by just three, 97-94, Mahindra had a chance to tie the game. But KG Canaleta and Mike DiGregorio missed their respective attempts.
Wilson and Borboran put the finishing touches to seal the win for Phoenix.
Action resumes today also at the Big Dome with Rain or Shine and Alaska tussle in the main offering at 5:15 p.m., right after the Blackwater-Talk N Text battle in the opening 3 p.m. game.
The Elasto Painters are toting a 2-2 win-loss record, a fluctuating campaign so far early in the Governors’ Cup after winning it all in the Commissioner’s Cup.
After capturing their second league title last May, the Painters have started the season-ending conference with a loss, won their next two games, before losing to Meralco, 109-102, last Wednesday.
Phoenix (100) -- Phelps 23, Baguio 22, Borboran 13, Hee 13, Cruz 6, Caperal 5, Lanete 5, Torres 4, Buenafe 3, Enciso 3, Wilson J. 2, Wilson W. 1, Pennisi 0.
Mahindra (94) -- White 24, Ramos 18, Taha 13, Canaleta 10, Digregorio 7, Agovida 6, Jaime 4, Yee 4, Aguilar 2, Guinto 2, Pinto 2, Webb 2, Zandi 0, Elorde 0.
Quarterscores: 13-24, 44-45, 68-71, 100-94.