THE Rain or Shine Elasto Painters leaned on a solid start in the payoff period to propel them to a 116-111 victory over the lowly Phoenix Fuel Masters to move a step closer to making the quarterfinals of the 2017 Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City last night.
J’Nathan Bullock scored 24 of his team-high 33 points in the first half and added eight rebounds and four assists to lead the Elasto Painters.
He wasn’t alone as fellow frontcourt producer Raymond Almazan likewise had a splendid game, pouring in 25 points on 66 percent shooting and grabbing 11 rebounds for a remarkable double-double showing.
The Elasto Painters opened the fourth ahead by a single point, 85-84, after losing most of their double-digit halftime lead in the third where they got outplayed by Phoenix.
However, Rain or Shine recovered in the fourth, turning in key runs to regain control and keep the Fuel Masters at bay.
A 10-2 run to start the fourth gave the Elasto Painters a 95-86 edge with over nine minutes left.
They took care of that lead and overcame every Phoenix threat until finally securing their fourth win in their last five games.
Rain or Shine improved its chances of securing a berth in the quarterfinals with this win as it moved up to 5-3 in a three-way tie for fourth place.
While the Elasto Painters moved closer to the next round, the Fuel Masters were officially eliminated after suffering their eighth consecutive loss. Phoenix dropped to 2-8 at 11th place with only a game left in its calendar.
Behind a huge surge midway in the second frame, the Elasto Painters were able to create separation from the Fuel Masters.
Rain or Shine uncorked a 21-7 spurt to turn a two-point lead into a commanding 51-35 spread with 3:31 left before halftime after a triple from Jericho Cruz.
The Elasto Painters were able to maintain and carry that lead at the half, 61-45.
Phoenix made a game out of it by climbing right back in the third. The Fuel Masters outscored Rain or Shine 40-25 to give themselves a chance before once again falling short.
Matthew Wright led all scorers with a conference-high 36 points but all his efforts went to naught as his squad was again unable to put up a win.
The scores: RAIN OR SHINE ELASTO PAINTERS 116—J’Nathan Bullock 33, Raymond Almazan 25, Gabe Norwood 17, Jericho Cruz 14, James Yap 9, Mark Borboran 7, Chris Tiu 6, Maverick Ahanmisi 5, Don Trollano 0, Beau Belga 0, Ronnie Matias 0.
PHOENIX PETROLEUM FUEL MASTERS 111—Matthew Wright 36, Brandon Brown 33, RJ Jazul 9, Willy Wilson 8, Doug Kramer 8, JC Intal 7, Jeff Chan 6, Chico Lanete 2, Joseph Eriobu 2, Gelo Alolino 0, Michael Miranda 0, Karl Dehesa 0.
Quarter scores: 24-18, 61-45, 85-84, 116-111.
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