In a nail-biting showdown at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo, the Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters secured a hard-fought 99-98 victory over the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters.
The victory propelled the Fuel Masters to a 2-1 record in the PBA Season 48 Commissioner’s Cup, while the Elasto Painters remained winless at 0-3.
The game unfolded as a rollercoaster ride, with the Fuel Masters surging to a 27-16 lead early on. However, they faced challenges in the second half, relinquishing two significant leads before the closing seconds drama.
The match remained highly contested, and it was only in the final moments that the Fuel Masters managed to secure the win.
A frenzied battle for a loose ball ensued, culminating in Jonathan Williams drawing a crucial foul from Ray Nambatac with just 1.3 seconds left on the clock.
Despite Williams missing his free throws, the Elasto Painters had insufficient time for a final attempt, sealing the Fuel Masters’ victory.
Williams played a pivotal role in the Fuel Masters’ success, contributing 29 points, 18 rebounds, and seven assists. Despite a challenging 9-of-22 performance from the free-throw line, Williams’ all-around effort propelled the team to bounce back from their previous blowout loss to the Magnolia Hotshots.
Coach Jamike Jarin’s squad showcased resilience, now boasting a 2-1 record, including an earlier victory over the NLEX Road Warriors. On the other hand, Coach Yeng Guiao and the Elasto Painters faced their third consecutive loss after earlier defeats to Meralco and NorthPort.
Fuel Masters’ Jason Perkins led the Phoenix locals with 14 points, supported by Tyler Tio with 13, Sean Manganti with 10, and rookie Ken Tuffin, who grabbed 13 rebounds along with nine points.
In a pivotal moment during the game, the Fuel Masters regrouped after squandering a 13-point lead in the third quarter. They unleashed a staggering 16-0 run at the start of the fourth quarter, reclaiming control with a 90-78 advantage. However, the Elasto Painters mounted a comeback, narrowing the gap to 90-93 and setting the stage for an intense finish.
As the score reached 99-92, Jhonard Clarito and Leonard Santillan connected back-to-back three-pointers for the Elasto Painters, bringing them within one point at 98-99 with 33.2 seconds remaining. The ensuing moments saw a spirited battle for a loose ball, with Perkins missing a long shot. Ultimately, Williams secured the ball, sealing the thrilling win for the Fuel Masters.