Rain or Shine stays at second after beating Phoenix
MANILA, Philippines – The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters kept their hold on the second spot in the league standings after shooting their way past the Phoenix Fuel Masters, 97-82, in the 2016-17 PBA Philippine Cup on Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum.
The Elasto Painters used a huge third quarter to break the game open, while Jericho Cruz anchored a crucial fourth-quarter stretch to keep Phoenix at bay.
With the victory, Rain or Shine improved to 5-2, just behind defending champion San Miguel Beer in the team standings.
Phoenix, meanwhile, saw its two-game winning streak come to an end. The Fuel Masters dropped to 4-4 and into a tie with Blackwater Elite for fifth and sixth places.
"I just told the players that we have to start the year with a win," said Rain or Shine head coach Caloy Garcia. "If you look at the standings, everybody is clogged up, so every win is important."
After leading by eight, 53-45, at the half, Rain or Shine opened the third period with 13 unanswered points to surge ahead by 21, 66-45, with 6:37 left in the game. Ronnie Matias played a key role in the run, scoring eight points including a three-pointer. Meanwhile, Jewel Ponferrada took charge on defense, registering three blocked shots in the frame, including back-to-back rejections of Mark Borboran.
They entered the final quarter with a 78-61 advantage.