It's the human and fun side of our sports heroes

Late run pushes ROS over NorthPort; Phoenix stays perfect


MANILA — The Rain Or Shine Elasto Painters tripped the NorthPort Batang Pier in the final frame to take a 107-100 win in the PBA Philippine Cup at the MOA Arena in Pasay on Friday night.

James Yap’s renaissance continued as he scored the go-ahead triple that became the main highlight of ROS’ game-deciding 10-0 run to steal the win from NorthPort, which faltered in the entire fourth quarter.

The Batang Pier were on pace in dealing with the E-Painters a tough defeat after coming up with 34 points in the second quarter and another 30 in the third to go up, 89-79.

But after an exchange of baskets to start the fourth, ROS went on an 11-0 run to take a 97-95 lead with 5:31 remaining.

Stanley Pringle went to work afterward, stealing the ball from Maverick Ahanmisi and finding Sean Anthony for the fast break layup for the 97-all deadlock before burying a triple that gave NorthPort a 100-97 lead with 3:55 to play.

Beau Belga made two free throws that sparked the game-turning rally by the E-Painters and assisted Yap’s big triple that put them ahead for good with 2:50 remaining.

Rey Nambatac then iced the game with three free throws just as the Batang Pier could not buy a bucket before Mark Borboran scored on a layup that could be of big impact in the quotient race.

Yap and Belga scored 19 points each for the now 5-1 ROS, which remains a half-game behind Phoenix, 83-82 winner over NLEX in the first game, at the top of the standings.

Norbert Torres added 16 points and three rebounds, while Raymond Almazan chipped in 14 markers, five caroms, four dimes, and five blocks.

Pringle exploded for 34 points on 11-of-18 shooting, seven rebounds, two assists, two steals, and one block for NorthPort, which fell to a tie with Barangay Ginebra for fifth place at 2-2.

The result opened a chance for Ginebra to overtake NorthPort and even move up to solo third place as the Barangay take on the Blackwater Elite in Digos on Saturday night.

The Fuel Masters squandered a 17-point lead but stifled the Road Warriors in the final period to go 5-0 for the first time ever in the curtain-raiser.

Phoenix made NLEX feel the absence of Kevin Alas in the first quarter, holding its opponent to just 12 points before opening a 32-15 cushion early in the second.

The Road Warriors turned things around later in the period, outscoring the Fuel Masters, 29-13, to cut the lead down to one, 45-44, at halftime.

NLEX then started the third quarter with a 12-0 run to go up, 56-45, with 9:03 remaining in the period.

But Phoenix recovered and even forced a 63-all tie before the Road Warriors regained the lead at the end of the third, 70-67.

The game remained tight for the first seven minutes of the fourth quarter, but the Fuel Masters went on a crucial 9-0 run with Matt Wright accounting for seven of the unanswered points to give them an 83-77 lead with 2:47 left.

NLEX still did not give up and scored five straight points to cut the lead back to one with 56 seconds remaining.

The team got a chance to retake the lead after Kenneth Ighalo blocked Calvin Abueva’s putback attempt, but Poy Erram missed on a layup.

Phoenix, however, could not put the game away offensively as Jason Perkins missed a three-point attempt before shot clock expired. Erram recovered the loose ball after a scramble and sued for time with 2.3 seconds left.

At the inbound, the ball landed on the arms of Bong Galanza, and he quickly went for the three-pointer, but Abueva came to the rescue and swatted away Galanza’s long bomb before time expired.

Wright’s clutch basket made up for a sluggish outing for the Fuel Masters.

He finished with 17 points on 6-of-18 shooting, including a dismal 1-for-7 clip from beyond the arc, but he too had five rebounds, six assists, and two steals.

Perkins added a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds with one assist and three steals.

Abueva had his own double-double with 13 markers and 11 boards alongside two assists and two blocks off the bench.

JR Quiñahan made 14 points, four rebounds, two assists, one block, and one steal for the Road Warriors, who fell to a tie with the Columbian Dyip for ninth place at 2-4. (PNA)