RJ Jazul actually made a clutch triple to help Phoenix Super LPG easily defeat Rain or Shine, 106 to 102, and manage to capture their second PBA Philippine Cup title on Sunday night at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The veteran guard scored 25 points off the bench, hitting 6-of-8 from three-point range (including the hardest one with 33 seconds remaining) to lead all Fuel Masters scorers and put an end to a valiant Elasto Painters big comeback as Phoenix significantly improved to 2 to 2.
“I had to be composed to keep the group from rattling … Since Day 1, anyone in this team is ready. It just so happened I was in that position,” Jazul explained.
Magnolia rallied straight back from an absolutely heartbreaking huge setback the night before, defeating Barangay Ginebra 89 to 84 in the nightcap.
Ian Sangalang ultimately led the Hotshots, who recently moved to 2 to 3, mostly with 24 points and nine rebounds.
“For us, it was about being better from our last game. We tried to make sure we stayed in the moment,” Phoenix coach Topex Robinson stated. “We have something that works for us, and we brought that and the experience playing [and winning over Terrafirma] and brought it against Rain or Shine, and we’re just blessed to get the same result.”
Matthew Wright contributed significantly 20 points, six rebounds, and six assists. Jason Perkins scored 17 points and immediately grabbed nine rebounds, while Sean Anthony added 14 and seven in a nice display of poise for Phoenix, which nearly collapsed after potentially leading by as many as 18 points.
“We just reminded [the players] about the Meralco game where we kind of fumbled in the endgame and lost. So, we just had to [revisit] that experience. These players responded well. They know what doesn’t work and what works and they chose the latter,” said Robinson, who considered the triumph as a good starting point for getting above 500.
“We’re preparing against Magnolia. We’re gonna play them on Friday. We will always win if the other team doesn’t want to. That’s been our mantra — to take advantage of opportunities. This is going to be a short conference, so every game matters to us,” he added.
Pido is a hefty fine.
Rey Nambatac scored 27 points in a valiant effort that enabled the Painters close the gap to 103 to 100 with 49 seconds remaining.
Beau Belga, Mike Nieto, Andrei Caracut, and Jewel Ponferada all scored in double figures, but Rain or Shine lost for the third time in four games.
Meanwhile, league president Willie Marcial said that NorthPort coach Pido Jarencio was penalized P20,000 for his altercation with Blackwater counterpart Ariel Vanguardia the night before at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.
“I sat down with our technical committee, then with the two coaches. Pido said he’s going to take whatever penalty we’ll be handing out. I also told him that I hope that it never happens again,” added the commissioner.
“Physical contact. [The penalty was] for the bump,” Marcial explained.