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Rain Or Shine hands Phoenix 1st loss in OT thriller

Kris Rosales set a career-high in the win. PBA Media Group
By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY—The Rain Or Shine Elasto Painters put an end to the Phoenix Fuel Masters’ unbeaten run in the PBA Philippine Cup with a 98-94 overtime win on Sunday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

ROS squandered a chance to blast Phoenix in regulation but made up for it in the OT session to take the top spot in the team standings.

The E-Painters thought they were on the verge of handing the Fuel Masters their first loss after going on a 14-0 run late in the third quarter to open a 70-56 lead, but the latter went on a 9-0 run spilling to the fourth quarter to come to within five, 65-70.

ROS retained control of the game by holding Phoenix at bay midway through the fourth, but a 6-0 run by the latter trimmed the gap to just one, 79-78, with 3:41 left in regulation.

After an exchange of crucial baskets which ended in a Matt Wright triple with 47 seconds remaining, the Fuel Masters got a chance to tie the game as Calvin Abueva blocked Gabe Norwood’s jumper and got the rebound in the process.

That led to a Jason Perkins floater with only 12 seconds remaining in regulation for an 87-all tie.

The E-Painters had a chance to win it in regulation, but James Yap, who was struggling all game long, missed a long triple off the isolation just before the final buzzer.

The game remained tight for the first half of the extra period, but ROS had a chance to get some breathing room as after a Rey Nambatac layup to give the team a 94-92 lead, Doug Kramer lost the ball while getting the offensive rebound in the next Phoenix play.

Raymond Almazan made two free throws in the ensuing possession to give the E-Painters a 96-92 lead with 42 seconds left.

Alex Mallari kept the Fuel Masters in the game with a quick layup with 37 seconds left, but a huge teardrop from Mark Borboran as shotclock expired sealed the win for the E-Painters.

Beau Belga and Kris Rosales each chipped in 16 points for ROS, which is now number one in the table at 6-1.

Rosales actually posted a career-high in points, while Belga came close to a triple-double with nine rebounds and seven assists.

Perkins’ 27-point explosion went down the drain as Phoenix drops to second place at 5-1.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno