Nov 18, 2023

Fuel Masters win helter-skelter finish versus Elasto Painters

ENGAGED in a duel of runs, Phoenix Super LPG pulled through in the end in preserving a one-point lead over Rain or Shine in the closing seconds of their match at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo Saturday night.

The Fuel Masters nipped the Elasto Painters, 99-98, and thus jacked up their record to 2-1 while keeping their opponents without a win in three starts in PBA Season 48 Commissioner's Cup.

It was a rollercoaster ride where the Fuel Masters got to a 27-16 start then blew away two big leads in the second half before needing lots of hustle in the dying seconds to fend off the Elasto Painters.

It was anybody's ball game until the Fuel Masters beat the E-Painters in a wild battle for loose ball then Jonathan Williams drew a desperate foul from Ray Nambatac with 1.3 ticks to go.

Williams muffed his free throws but the E-Painters had no more enough time to go for one decent try at salvaging the game.

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And even with a woeful 9-of-22 overall clip from the stripe, Williams, with 29 points and 18 rebounds plus seven assists, helped the Fuel Masters to a bounceback win from their 107-92 blowout by the Magnolia Hotshots.

Coach Jamike Jarin's crew went 2-1 overall, counting an earlier win over the NLEX Road Warriors, 113-101.

Meanwhile, coach Yeng Guiao and his troops fell to 0-3 with earlier losses to Meralco, 107-102, and NorthPort, 113-103.

With former lead gun Matthew Wright cheering on the gallery, the Fuel Masters showed what they can do, with Jason Perkins leading the Phoenix locals with 14 points, Tyler Tio adding 13, Sean Manganti 10 and rookie Ken Tuffin grabbing 13 boards that went with nine markers.

As they looked headed for downfall after squandering a 13-point lead in the third period, the Fuel Masters regrouped and unleashed a mind-boggling 16-0 start in the fourth canto to regain control at 90-78.

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But the Elasto Painters still refused to give up, igniting their own roll to once again get back into the fight at 90-93, paving the way for a battle at the finish.

At 99-92, Jhonard Clarito and Leonard Santillan fired back-to-back treys, and the E-Painters threatened at 98-99 with still 33.2 seconds to go.

And the game became a lot more exciting as Perkins muffed a long shot, sending both teams to a spirited battle for the loose ball, with bodies sprawling on the court.

Finally, the ball went into the hands of Williams, sealing the Phoenix win with just 1.3 ticks left.(SB)