COLUMBIAN Dyip coach Ricky Dandan saw some stirrings of life within his team during a recent loss to San Miguel Beer.
Now, the Dyip have a shot at getting past the eliminations for only the second time in franchise history, one they would realize if they prevail over Barangay Ginebra and GlobalPort in their last two elims games.
On Sunday, the Dyip gave Dandan a full-blown display of energy that resulted in a morale-boosting 115-07 win over the Phoenix Fuel Masters in the PBA Commissioner's Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
John Fields had 29 points and 26 rebounds and his local teammates did their ample share as Columbian snapped out of a three-game slide and improved to a 4-5 slate overall.
"A big win coming off three straight losses, two of them by blowout," noted Dandan, referring to the lopsided defeats against Magnolia Ang Pambansang Manok and TNT by an average of 26.5 points before a 117-129 decision to SMB last Wednesday.
"We kind of stuck with San Miguel but fell short in the end," said Dandan."Of course, there were times we were down, but we just stuck to the positives as much as we could."
That only heightened Columbian's sense of urgency, as Dandan himself admitted.
"We have a chance now. So we talked about not letting this pass, we cannot let this pass, this opportunity to make the playoffs," he stated.
"We also talked about our locals needing to contribute more, not just offensively."
Glenn Khobuntin, Rashawn McCarthy, Jerramy King and Eric Camson sure did heed Dandan's call.
Khobuntin scored a career-high 18 points, McCarthy added 15 points and eight assists, King chipped in 15 points and 10 boards and Camson 13 markers.
Eugene Phelps scored 34 points and 22 rebounds against nine turnovers, mostly as a result of the triple teams thrown at him by Columbian.
Matthew Wright came off the bench to add 32 points and Jason Perkins 14 points and six boards before fouling out.
The likes of Jeff Chan, RJ Jazul and JC Intal failed to find any sort of rhthym offensively, however, as the Fuel Masters absorbed their own third straight loss and found their own playoff bid jeopardized after dropping to a 3-5 record.
"I felt we won this game because of our defense," said Dandan after his side limited Phoenix to a 40-of-92 clip from the floor and forced it to commit 20 turnovers.
The Fuel Masters also missed 11 free throws, exactly similar to the number of freebies they muffed in a 100-103 overtime loss to Meralco last Friday. They also wound up with 4-of-26 three-point shooting with the last two coming when it was too little, too late.
In contrast, the Dyip made 43 of 92 field goal attempts and offset a minus-8 disadvantage in turnover points via a 24-15 count in transition points and an 8-for-28 shooting from beyond the arc.
All those enabled Columbian to come charging back from early 14-point deficits and take full charge in the fourth period.
Camson's six straight points actually sparked the Dyip's surge from a 73-75 count with six straight points, before their more balanced attack resulted in a 112-99 spread, only 37.5 ticks to go.(NC)
COLUMBIAN 115 - Fields 29, Khobuntin 18, King 15, McCarthy 15, Camson 13, Tubid 10, Escoto 6, Ababou 3, Sara 2, Cahilig 2, Corpuz 2, Celda 0.
PHOENIX 107 - Phelps 34, Wright 32, Perkins 14, Revilla 5, Intal 5, Wilson 5, Chan 4, Mendoza 2, Kramer 2, Chua 2, Jazul 2, Gamboa 0, Dehesa 0.
Quarterscores: 17-29, 44-48, 73-75, 115-107.