MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATE) Denzel Bowles took over down the stretch to lift the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters over the Phoenix Pulse Fuel Masters, 89-82, for back-to-back victories in the 2019 PBA Commissioner's Cup on Sunday at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo.
Bowles, a former PBA Best Import, scored 16 of his 28 points in the final quarter while grabbing 14 rebounds. Javee Mocon and James Yap each scored 15 points for the E-Painters, who improved to 2-2 with the result.
ROS head coach Caloy Garcia was far from pleased with his players' performance, openly saying that they "looked bad" and committed too many turnovers.
"Technically I felt that we didn't deserve this win because like I said, we looked bad. But it's good that Denzel was able to give us this win. He didn't want to lose," said Garcia.
It was a nervy game that featured 8 ties and 12 lead changes. A Gabe Norwood jumper knotted the count for the last time at 66, before Phoenix import Richard Howell and LA Revilla knocked down triples for a 72-66 Phoenix lead.
The Fuel Masters were still on top, 76-70, when Bowles scored seven straight points to shift the lead back to Rain or Shine. He also drew Howell's sixth foul of the game, sending the Phoenix import to the bench with 3:40 to go.
Phoenix last took the lead, 80-77, off a Matthew Wright four-point play with 3:02 to play. But Rain or Shine responded with a 9-0 run, as Mark Borboran scored inside, Bowles completed an and-1 play, and Rey Nambatac nailed a triple. Nambatac also converted a free throw after Phoenix coach Topex Robinson was called for a technical for entering the court.
That gave Rain or Shine an 86-80 lead with 1:58 left, and the Fuel Masters were unable to threaten again.
"The nice thing is, we didn't stop playing defense. I think it's our offense that suffered today," said Garcia.
"Like I said, we were lucky that we were able to get this win. Now we just have to move forward and try to get more wins to try to make it to the next round," he also said.
Mocon added 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals, and 2 blocked shots to his stat line for a fine all-around performance. Yap shot 6-of-10 from the field, but was subbed out in the third frame after suffering a groin injury, according to Garcia.
Nambatac, who torched Ginebra for 30 points in Rain or Shine's previous game, had 11 markers this time around.
Howell led Phoenix with 27 points and 11 rebounds, while Wright finished with 15 points. The Fuel Masters are still playing without the suspended Calvin Abueva, while Robinson called the shots in place of head coach Louie Alas who is serving the second of a two-game ban.
Rain or Shine 89 - Bowles 28, Yap 15, Mocon 15, Nambatac 11, Norwood 9, Daquioag 4, Alejandro 3, Rosales 2, Borboran 2, Ponferada 0, Belga 0.
Phoenix 82 - Howell 27, Wright 15, Revilla 12, Jazul 7, Chua 7, Marcelo 7, Intal 4, Perkins 3, Kramer 0, Wilson 0, Dennison 0.Quarterscores: 14-20, 32-39, 61-61, 89-82
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