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PBA: ROS keeps QF bonus bid alive

Games Tomorrow
(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
4:15 p.m. – Alaska vs Meralco
7 p.m. – GlobalPort vs Star

Rain or Shine held off Phoenix’s final push and came away with a 116-111 victory last night to remain in contention for a twice-to-beat advantage in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.

Raymond Almazan, import J’Nathan Bullock, Jericho Cruz and Gabe Norwood made crucial plays in the final six minutes, handing the Elasto Painters a crucial victory that kept them in the race for a quarterfinal bonus given to the top four finishers.

Bullock topscored with 33 points, Almazan had 25 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks, Norwood posted 17 points, six rebounds and three assists and Cruz had the last laugh in his verbal war with Phoenix’s Matthew Wright by finishing with 14 points.

The Elasto Painters improved to 5-3, forging a three-way tie for fourth with the Grand Slam-seeking San Miguel Beermen and TNT KaTropa, which plays the NLEX Road Warriors at presstime.

Coach Caloy Garcia was pleased his team was able to hack out a victory despite squandering a 61-45 halftime lead and almost blowing another when Phoenix trimmed a 13-point deficit to three multiple times in the payoff period.

“I told the players that you can’t relax against Phoenix because they’re loaded with scorers. At least in the fourth quarter, they woke up,” said Garcia, whose team faces a tough schedule to conclude the elims.

Wright, who kept exchanging words with Cruz even after a second motion during one play in the second quarter, fired 17 of his 36 points in the third while import Brandon Brown contributed 33 points for Phoenix. Those numbers, however, weren’t enough to avoid the Fuel Masters’ exit from playoff contention after dropping their eighth in a row.

Phoenix has never won since starting the conference with victories over Kia and Alaska.

Wright’s triple completed a 10-0 run by Phoenix to pull within three, 102-99, with under six minutes remaining. But Almazan responded with a three of his own to keep Rain or Shine afloat.

RAIN OR SHINE 116 – Bullock 33, Almazan 25, Norwood 17, Cruz 14, Yap 9, Borboran 7, Tiu 6, Ahanmisi 5, Trollano 0, Belga 0, Matias 0.

PHOENIX 111 – Wright 36, Brown 33, Jazul 9, Wilson W. 8, Kramer 8, Intal 7, Chan 6, Lanete 2, Eriobu 2, Alolino 0, Miranda 0, Dehesa 0.

Quarters: 24-18; 61-45; 85-84; 116-111.

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