After opening the 2019 Honda PBA Philippine Cup with five consecutive wins, the Phoenix Pulse Fuel Masters are perfect no more as Rain or Shine dealt them their first loss, 98-94 in overtime at Smart Araneta Coliseum on Sunday evening.
The biggest shot of the game came from an unsung hero in Mark Borboran who made a tough layup with 12 seconds left in overtime to give the Elasto Painters the win they needed to move to the top of standings.
Rain or Shine, now 6-1, moved ahead of Phoenix who dropped to 5-1.
From the tip until the end, it was Beau Belga and Kris Rosales who powered the Elasto Painters. They finished with 16 points apiece. Belga added nine boards and seven assists. The only taint in the big man's line were his four turnovers.
"I don't hesitate when it comes to passing the ball. Even if it's a risky pass, I gamble," Belga said when he was asked about his assists. "If my teammate gets it, good. If I turn the ball over, I'll just work hard to get the possession back."
Late in regulation, it seemed like Gabe Norwood had put the Fuel Masters away for good. The 34-year-old veteran cleaned up a Belga miss with a putback dunk that put Rain or Shine up 85-80 with 1:36 left in the game. Then after the Fuel Masters responded, Norwood hit a baseline jumper to restore a five-point advantage.
But Phoenix simply refused to go down. Matthew Wright sparked life into the team with three-point shot over Raymond Almazan. Calvin Abueva did his part by getting a block on Norwood and saving the possession for the Fuel Masters.
With 13 seconds remaining, Jason Perkins fearlessly attacked the paint and scored to send the game into overtime.
Phoenix kept close in overtime, tying the game up at 92-all with 2:44 remaining. But they were held scoreless in the next two minutes, allowing Rain or Shine to get ahead.
The Elasto Painters spoiled a career night for Perkins who finished with 27 points and nine rebounds. Calvin Abueva and Matthew Wright chipped in 16 points each but shot a lowly 10-for-38 from the field.
Rain or Shine 98 - Belga 16, Rosales 16, Ahanmisi 13, Almazan 12, Nambatac 10, Norwood 8, Torres 6, Borboran 5, Maiquez 4, Daquioag 4, Yap 2, Mocon 1, Ponferada 1.
Phoenix 94 - Perkins 27, Wright 16, Mallari 12, Jazul 7, Kramer 6, Mendoza 5, Marcelo 3, Napoles 2, Dennison 0, Chua 0, Revilla 0.
Quarters: 24-20, 45-36, 70-61, 87-87, 98-94.
-- It was the Fuel Masters' third overtime game of the young season. They needed five extra minutes in their first two wins of the conference, over Meralco and TNT.
-- Phoenix Pulse' 5-0 streak to open the Philippine Cup was the best start in franchise history.
-- Rain or Shine actually trailed in many statistical categories, including rebounds, turnovers and hustle points. They got most of their advantage by shooting much better from the field, 35-for-74 (47%) compared to Phoenix's 38-for-98 (38%).
Phoenix vs NorthPort on February 27 (Wed) at the Smart Araneta Coliseum
Rain or Shine vs Magnolia on February 13 (Wed) at the Mall of Asia Arena