By Jonas Terrado
RR Garcia scored a hurried layup at the buzzer and Phoenix Pulse nipped Rain or Shine 86-84 Wednesday to snap a two-game skid in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome.
Import Eugene Phelps received Alex Mallari’s inbound with 1.8 seconds left before finding a wide-open Garcia, who double-pumped the winning basket that help the Fuel Masters improve their record to 2-4.
The win was a fitting birthday present for coach Louie Alas, who will turn 56 the following day.
“We’re still breathing,” said Alas after the contest that saw Phoenix bounce back from losses to TNT KaTropa and Meralco.
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Garcia’s basket allowed him to atone for missing two free throws with Phoenix ahead 84-82 with 17 seconds remaining.
Javee Mocon tied the score on a jumper for Rain or Shine before Phoenix executed the winning play in stunned fashion.
Phelps finished with 19 points, 20 rebounds, seven assists and five blocks while RJ Jazul and Garcia added 15 and 14 points for Phoenix, which played sans star shooter Matthew Wright due to an injured left foot.
Alas said Wright is listed as day-to-day after sustaining the injury a day before the game against Meralco last Sunday.
Import Kayel Locke had 29 points and 10 rebounds but the Elasto Painters dropped their third in a row for a 1-4 record.
Rain or Shine lost veteran center Beau Belga with 10:48 left in the second quarter with a Flagrant Foul 2 for elbowing Phoenix forward Jason Perkins in the face.
The Elasto Painters also played without James Yap due to a groin injury that will sideline him for at least two weeks.
PHOENIX PULSE 86 — Phelps 19, Jazul 15, Garcia 14, Napoles 9, Perkins 8, Potts 8, Marcelo 6, Mallari 5, Chua 2.
RAIN OR SHINE 84 — Locke 29, Nambatac 14, Mocon 12, Norwood 11, Ponferada 7, Borboran 6, Daquioag 5, Rosales 0, Exciminiano 0, Torres 0, Belga 0.
Quarters: 26-18; 50-43; 72-69; 86-84.