WHAT seemingly was a lost cause for the Phoenix Petroleum Fuel Masters yesterday proved otherwise as they rallied back from 26 points down to pull the rug from under the GlobalPort Batang Pier, 101-99, to nail their second straight win in the PBA Philippine Cup.
Left for dead after being buried by 26 markers early in the fourth period, Phoenix rose as the quarter progressed, behind the efforts of Mark Borboran and Cyrus Baguio, to turn things around en route to the win, their second straight in the season-opening Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) tournament to take its record to 4-3 for joint fourth place.
After keeping it close at the end of the opening canto that had it only trailing by two, 22-20, Phoenix saw things slip from its grasp as it was outscored by GlobalPort, 62-41, in the middle quarters to trail 84-61 after three quarters.
But the Fuel Masters were undeterred by the huge task facing them, slowly but shortly cutting down the lead of the Batang Pier with Mr. Borboran getting it done inside and with hustle plays.
Then Mr. Baguio, struggling all game long, racked up seven straight points under five minutes to put the pressure on GlobalPort.
The Fuel Masters took the lead, 96-95, with 54 seconds left and extended it further to 99-96 with rookie Matthew Wright hitting two free throws with 28 seconds remaining.
GlobalPort’s Terrence Romeo would hit three free throws with 21 seconds left after being fouled by Mr. Wright.
But Mr. Borboran would secure the win as he scored with a tap-in with 2.4 seconds left on the clock to put Phoenix ahead for good.
Mr. Romeo tried a desperation triple as time expired but failed to connect.
Mr. Borboran finished with 23 points and eight rebounds to earn player of the game honors while Mr. Baguio had seven points, all in the fourth period, to go along with seven rebounds and four assists.
Mr. Wright had 19 markers and Simon Enciso 14.
GlobalPort was paced by Mr. Romeo with 32 points and nine assists while Stanley Pringle had 15.
“Coach [Ariel Vanguardia] just told us to take it one stop at a time and just execute our plays and thankfully they paid off. We’ve been really working hard as a group and this is the result,” said Mr. Borboran of their come-from-behind win.
Mr. Vanguardia, meanwhile, took time to pay tribute to long-time basketball coach and his mentor Bong Go, who recently passed away, dedicating the victory to him.
Phoenix returns to the court on Jan. 8 versus the Rain or Shine Elastopainters while GlobalPort (4-3) next plays on Jan. 6 against the Meralco Bolts.