Rain or Shine leans on Bullock, Almazan to oust Phoenix

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The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters leaned on J’Nathan Bullock’s hot start and Raymond Almazan’s all-around game to eliminate the Phoenix Fuel Masters, 116-111, in the Oppo PBA Governors’ Cup on Wednesday at Ynares Center in Antipolo.

Bullock scored his team’s first 17 points en route to a 33-point output. He also collected eight rebounds, four assists and three steals to help Rain or Shine improve to 5-3.

Almazan also came up with a huge game, scoring 25 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks while also providing two clutch plays that spoiled Phoenix’ comeback.

Matthew Wright led all scorers with 36 points, 17 of which came in a blistering third period. Brandon Brown also had 33 points and 20 boards but their outbursts weren’t enough to keep the Fuel Masters from dropping their eight straight game.

With a record of 2-8 and just a game left on its schedule, Phoenix is now of contention for a playoff spot.

With Bullock catching fire early, Rain or Shine controlled the game in the first half and expanded its lead to as big as 18 points, 54-36.

But Wright put on his own offensive show in the third frame as he almost singlehandedly brought the Fuel Masters back in the game. He sparked a 25-6 run in the first six minutes of the quarter to hand Phoenix a 70-67 edge.

Rain or Shine retaliated and was able to still take an 85-84 lead entering the fourth quarter. The Elasto Painters went on to rebuild a double-digit advantage, 102-89.

But the Fuel Masters didn’t back down, staying within striking distance in the dying minutes. Down by just four, 115-111, with over 30 ticks left, the Fuel Masters tried to play solid defense and force one stop.

But after a Gabe Norwood miss, Almazan grabbed a crucial offensive board. After getting fouled, he split his free throws.

The defensive specialist then blocked Brown’s layup attempt on the other end to seal Rain or Shine’s win.

The game marked the first time that Jeff Chan faced his former team since being traded to Phoenix. He scored six points and six rebounds against the squad that served as his home for eight years.

The scores:

RAIN OR SHINE 116 – Bullock 33, Almazan 25, Norwood 17, Cruz 14, Yap 9, Borboran 7, Tiu 6, Ahanmisi 5, Trollano 0, Belga 0, Matias 0.

PHOENIX 111 – Wright 36, Brown 33, Jazul 9, Wilson W. 8, Kramer 8, Intal 7, Chan 6, Lanete 2, Eriobu 2, Alolino 0, Miranda 0, Dehesa 0.

Quarters: 24-18, 61-45, 85-84, 116-111.