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Feb 10, 2019

Rosales, Belga take lead for Elasto Painters' surge to top

ITS leading scorer may not be his usual self, but Rain or Shine still outlasted Phoenix 98-94 in overtime Sunday to seize the lead in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Kris Rosales and Beau Belga scored 16 points apiece, but it was the pair of Raymond Almazan and Maverick Ahanmisi who delivered the biggest blows in the extension by combining for seven of the team's 11 points.

Much like what they did in regulation when they came charging back from a 14-point deficit, the Fuel Masters moved within 94-96 on an Alex Mallari drive.

But Mark Borboran capped his own heroics by banking in a short stab in the last 11 seconds that pegged what would prove to be the final score.

As a result, the Elasto Painters took over top spot with their sixth win in seven games while relegating the Fuel Masters to second on a 5-1 slate.

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Winning coach Caloy Garcia could not be prouder of the way his other charges stepped up against previously unbeaten Phoenix's tough stance.

"Another good win for us," said Garcia. "When Phoenix came back they never gave up. They fought their hearts out."

Making the victory sweeter is the fact it was fashioned despite the struggles of Yap, who went into the game averaging 16.3 points per game but finished with just 2 on 1-of-9 field shooting.

"The good thing about this win is we have different players stepping up," Garcia pointed out. "Tonight it was Kris Rosales."

Rain or Shine still has to face Magnolia on Wednesday, marking its seventh game in 19 days, before next seeing action on March 1 against NorthPort.

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"We can't be complacent. We know it gets harder every game," said Garcia when asked what it would take for his team to stay on top in the face of its rigorous schedule.

"We cannot make pagod as an excuse. We're not only looking at just one person, we're looking for a whole team effort."

Jason Perkins led all scorers with a new career-high 27 points on top of nine rebounds. Last year's Rookie of the Year also knotted the count at 87-all with a twisting short stab and OT was forced when Yap missed a long triple try.

Calvin Abueva and Matthew Wright each wound up with 16 points while Alex Mallari was the lone other Phoenix player in double figures with 12.

As balanced, if not more, was Rain or Shine's production.

Ahanmisi added 13 points, Almazan 12 and Rey Nambatac 10.

Even the likes of Gabe Norwood, Norbert Torres and Jewel Ponferrada chipped in for the E-Painters, who got terribly outrebounded (61-44) but made up for it by going 35-of-74 from the field to Phoenix's 38-of-98.

Almazan and Rosales were at the forefront of Rain or Shine's surge from a 56-all tie and into as much as a 70-56 spread in the third quarter before Abueva's three-point play and Perkins' basket put Phoenix within nine going to the final canto.

Ahanmisi and Perkins traded triples to forge the game's sixth and last deadlock at 92 before Nambatac's drive and Almazan's charities pushed the E-Painters ahead by four.

The scores:

Rain or Shine 98 - Belga 16, Rosales 16, Ahanmisi 13, Almazan 12, Nambatac 10, Norwood 8, Torres 6, Borboran 5, Maiquez 4, Daquioag 4, Yap 2, Mocon 1, Ponferada 1.

Phoenix 94 - Perkins 27, Wright 16, Abueva 16, Mallari 12, Jazul 7, Kramer 6, Mendoza 5, Marcelo 3, Napoles 2, Dennison 0, Chua 0, Revilla 0.

Quarters: 24-20, 45-36, 70-61, 87-87, 98-94.