ROS 96 – Phoenix 94
The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters didn’t really plan for a comeback. They were ready to surrender, take the loss, and move on. Their shots weren’t falling and they were committing turnovers left and right. On Wednesday night, the Phoenix Fuel Masters were supposed to be victorious.
“Actually the start of the fourth, we went down big, I told the players that we already lost the game,” admitted head coach Caloy Garcia. “If they want to get the game, it’s up to them.”
Through three quarters, ROS only had 62 points up on the scoreboard, a far cry from their season average of more than 90 points a night. The Fuel Masters played air-tight defense and made life difficult for the Elasto Painters.
Jameel McKay was playing well, even ending up with a team-high 27 points and 18 rebounds for Phoenix. Guard Gelo Alolino contributed 14 points, including two three-pointers.
“I told them we just have to cut down the lead. Whatever happens we have to look at the quotient,” Garcia said. “The nice thing is they didn’t give up.”
ROS slowly chipped away the lead in the final frame. They played better on defense, and on the other end, they leaned on Jeff Chan. The veteran sharpshooter scored 14 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter. He also served up the game-winner with seven seconds left as he went straight to teeth of the Phoenix defense. He blew by Mark Borboran and got hit by McKay for the and-one play.
“That was just the key in the fourth quarter – when the players just wanted to play defense. We made big shots in the end, especially Jeff,” the coach mentioned.
ROS limited Phoenix to 21 points in the last 12 minutes of play. And on offense with Chan leading the way, the Elasto Painters erupted for 34 points.
Aside from Chan, import Shawn Taggart also played well, as he had a double-double with 20 points and 17 rebounds.
The Elasto Painters now improve to a 4-2 slate while Phoenix stumbles into a 2-4 record.
“It’s a good comeback for a team,” said a relieved but triumphant Garcia.