Painters take PBA top spot after routing Fuel Masters

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Rain or Shine Elasto Painters’ Beau Belga pulls up for a quick two-pointer while the defense of the Phoenix Fuel Masters were offguard. PBA

MANILA – Rain or Shine Elasto Painters surged on top of the 2019 Honda PBA Philippine Cup after a 98-94 overtime win over Phoenix Fuel Masters last night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Kris Rosales and Beau Belga led the way with 16 points each, while Maverick Ahanmisi and Raymond Almazan added 13 and 12 points, respectively, for the Painters, which surged to solo first place at 6-1.

With both teams knotted at 92 apiece, the Painters broke the deadlock with an inside conversion from Rey Nambatac and two free throws from Almazan for a 96-92 edge with under a minute left.

The Fuel Masters made it a single possession game on a basket from Alex Mallari but the Painters countered with a basket from Mark Borboran to seal the win with 12 seconds to go.

“Another good win for us,” said Painters head coach Carlos Garcia. “Phoenix came back and we had a good lead but they did not stop. That’s probably why they are on top. They never gave up and they fought their hearts out.”

The Painters surged to a 13-8 start on hits from Belga and Rosales but the Fuel Masters clawed to within two points. The Painters created distance anew on conversions from Nambatac for a 45-36 halftime lead.

The Fuel Masters had a strong run in the third to force a deadlock at 56-all. But six straight points from Raymond Almazan and back-to-back hits from Rosales gave the Painters a 70-61 lead.

The Painters were still ahead in the fourth quarter via conversion from Ahanmisi and Gabe Norwood but five straight points from Jason Perkins allowed the Fuel Masters to send the game into overtime.

Perkins finished the match with 27 points and nine rebounds, while Calvin Abueva and Alex Mallari tallied 16 markers each for the Fuel Masters, which dropped to 5-1 card.

In the second game, defending champions San Miguel Beermen tallied its second straight win after beating Magnolia Hotshots,113-92, in a rematch of last year’s All-Filipino Cup finals.

Arwind Santos led the way with 29 points, while Terrence Romeo and June Mar Fajardo added 23 and 22 points, respectively, for the Beermen (4-3). Paul Lee had 16 markers for the Hotshots (0-2)./PN

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