Arwind Santos turned from goat to hero in the last seven seconds of the game, helping the Petron Blaze Boosters escape a gritty Rain or Shine five, 90-88, in thrilling PBA Governors’ Cup action at the Ynares Center on Friday night.
Santos’ putback off a missed shot by Alex Cabagnot gave the Boosters a 90-86 lead and proved to be the insurance basket the team needed to pull out the hard-earned victory.
Rain or Shine threatened to steal the game late after trailing by as much as 23 points in the first half.
Prior to his crucial followup shot, Santos committed two crucial blunders late in the game, including a foul on a basket by Jamelle Cornley that cut the Petron lead to just four points, 88-84. Luckily for Santos, Cornley failed to complete the three-point play.
In the next play, new Petron Blaze import Marcus Faison lost his balance and turned the ball over, allowing Gabe Norwood to score in transition and moved Rain or Shine to within a basket.
But Santos made up for his lapses, and the 6-foot-4 forward had his crucial tip-in in the ensuing possession.
Rain or Shine scored on its next offensive trip — a jumper from Cornley –- but time ran out on them, allowing Petron to notch its sixth win in 10 games and forge a tie for third to fourth places with the Barangay Ginebra Kings.
Petron Blaze coach Ato Agustin attributed the team’s victory to the Boosters’ rebounding.
“The important thing is hindi nawala yung energy namin and we showed that on our rebounding. We dominated them pagdating sa rebounds,” said Agustin.
Petron grabbed 58 rebounds compared to Rain or Shine’s 37.
The Elasto Painters could also blame their paltry free throw shooting. They missed nine attempts in 28 tries, including five misses from Norwood, which came at the height of Rain or Shine’s big uprising.
Petron (90) – Faison 20, Yeo 14, Santos 12, Washington 11, Cabagnot 9, Lutz 7, Reyes 6, Miranda 6, Pena 5, Baclao 0, Hontiveros 0.
Rain or Shine (88) – Cornley 36, Lee 15, Norwood 10, Chan 10, Cruz 7, Belga 6, Matias 2, Tang 2, Arana 0, Quinahan 0, Buenafe 0, Ibanes 0.
Quarters: 29-24, 56-39, 72-62, 90-88