True to its name, Phoenix rose from the ashes and shone in the end.
Mark Borboran came up big in the fourth, including the game-winning tip with 2.4 seconds remaining as the Fuel Masters completed the 26-point comeback to stun GlobalPort, 101-99, Wednesday in the 2017 PBA Philippine Cup at Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay.
“We didn’t quit. We still played this game and didn’t give up,” said an emotional Phoenix coach Ariel Vanguardia, who dedicated the win to his late mentor Adriano “Bong” Go.
Borboran made his presence felt in the fourth scoring 12 of his 23 points, none bigger than his putback off of an open Simon Enciso corner trey to push Phoenix up for the marginal lead.
He went 9-of-13 from the field, on top of eight rebounds, as Phoenix outscored the Batang Pier, 30-7 in the last 7:57 of the game.
Terrence Romeo still had a shot to win the game for GlobalPort, but his trey at the buzzer went short as a resolute Phoenix crew stole the win in the clutch.
Matthew Wright added 19 markers, nine boards, and four assists, while Enciso got 14.
Phoenix leveled itself with Blackwater at fourth place with a 4-3 record to end the year, while the meltdown dropped GlobalPort at joint sixth place with its even 3-3 card, together with Star, Ginebra, and Alaska.
The Batang Pier seemed to coast to the easy win, breaking away from a 37-all deadlock and erecting a 47-39 lead to set the tone for the second half. The barrage continued in the third and early in the fourth, reaching its peak at 26, 87-61 after Nino Canaleta’s three.
“It was my fault early in the game. My game plan didn’t work. But we made some adjustments in the fourth and the good thing is we got some stops. JC (Intal) and Borbs were big down the stretch and gave us the energy we needed,” said Vanguardia.
Romeo topped GlobalPort with 32 points, but did so on a 9-of-20 shooting clip, to go with nine assists, while Stanley Pringle had 15 markers and six assists in the defeat.
The Batang Pier missed the services of coach Franz Pumaren, who is in an official business trip in Europe, as deputy Cholo Villanueva called the shots for their side.
PHOENIX 101 – Borboran 23, Wright 19, Enciso 14, Intal 9, Baguio 7, J. Wilson 7, Alolino 6, Torres 5, Lanete 5, Caperal 4, Hayes 2, W. Wilson 0.
GLOBALPORT 99 – Romeo 32, Pringle 15, Pennisi 12, Quinahan 10, Pessumal 10, Canaleta 8, Mamaril 4, Maierhofer 4, Cortez 4, Aban 0.
Quarters: 20-22, 42-53, 61-84, 101-99.