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Fuel Masters rally from 26 points down; dying-second tip-in wins it.
A tip-in deserves no less than a tap on the back, and Mark Borboran got a lot of that last night.
Phoenix Fuel completed a huge turnaround in the fourth quarter to score a dramatic come-from-behind victory over GlobalPort, 101-99, in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.
Borboran scored a personal season-high 23 points, 12 in the final frame capped by a tip-in off a missed three-point shot by Simon Enciso that gave the team a 101-99 edge with 2.4 seconds left.
GlobalPort ace guard Terrence Romeo had a chance to win it for his team, but a tough three-point try from the left corner challenged by two defenders fell short as time expired.
Rookie forward Matthew Wright contributed 19 points while Enciso added 14 as the two combined for seven of the team’s 12-of-36 (33%) shooting from three-point territory.
The win was Phoenix’s second straight as it moved up to solo seventh place in the standings with a 4-3 record, while dealing GlobalPort its second straight setback for a 3-3 card.
Phoenix coach Ariel Vanguardia credited his players as they fought back in the fourth quarter, taking the blame for letting his team slip into a hole earlier.
“It was my fault, my game plan didn’t work, Terrence was firing at will,” said Vanguardia as Romeo fired 32 points and GlobalPort drilled in 17 out of its 37 three-point attempts.
He adjusted just in time though.
“We went small ball in the last three minutes and stole the game,” said Vanguardia, who dedicated the game to his mentor, former coach Bong Go, who passed away the other day.
Borboran, a nine-year-veteran, connived with Wright, second year guard Enciso, as well as veteran players Chico Lanete and Cyrus Baguio in a huge fourth quarter run when they came back from a 26-point deficit.
A three-point shot by Rommel Cañaleta to start the final frame put the Batang Pier ahead 87-61. GlobalPort was still up, 96-86, after a layup by Romeo with 3:05 left in the game.
A 13-0 run by the Fuel Masters with Baguio scoring seven points gave Phoenix Fuel a 99-96 lead with 33 seconds to play. Romeo – fouled by Wright while attempting a triple – converted three foul shots that leveled the score, 99-all, with 21 seconds to play.
Baguio set up Enciso for a three-point shot on the left but the latter back-ironed his effort. The ball took a short bounce and Borboran, challenged by JR Quiñahan, got a hand up and sealed the team’s magnificent comeback.
PHOENIX 101 – Borboran 23, Wright 19, Enciso 14, Intal 9, Baguio 7, J. Wilson 7, Alolino 6, Torres 5, Lanete 5, Caperal 4, Hayes 2, W. Wilson 0.
GLOBALPORT 99 – Romeo 32, Pringle 15, Pennisi 12, Quinahan 10, Pessumal 10, Canaleta 8, Mamaril 4, Maierhofer 4, Cortez 4, Aban 0.
Quarters: 20-22; 42-53; 61-84; 101-99.