Returning Celda hits game-winner as Columbian escapes Phoenix Pulse to keep playoff hopes alive

Reden Celda came back from a 2-game absence and immediately made his presence felt by burying the game-winner in Columbian’s 100-98 squeaker against a determined Phoenix Pulse side in the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup, Saturday night at the MOA Arena.

Celda’s floater came off a defensive gem by Glenn Khobuntin who came up with a chasedown block on RJ Jazul’s breakaway layup which could’ve given the Fuel Masters the lead.

The Dyip then preserved the victory by coming up with a good defensive strategy which prevented Phoenix from scoring in the last 9 seconds of the match.

The loss pushed the Fuel Masters down to a tie for 6th place with Rain or Shine while the win improved the Dyip’s record to 3-7 and more importantly a slight chance of advancing into the next round.

“Celda had a big game coming off an injury,” said Columbian coach Johnedel Cardel.

“I told them to ‘just play your game, have fun inside and focus on their tendencies’, so nangyari naman and we came away with a win from this game,” he added.

Celda finished with 17 points, 4 rebounds and 8 assists in his first game back from a hip injury.

Lester Prosper led Columbian with 25 points and 21 boards while Rashawn McCarthy and CJ Perez had 19 and 18 points, respectively.

Richard Howell paced Phoenix, which now needs to win its last two games against San Miguel and NLEX to have a chance of entering the quarterfinals, with 35 points and 23 rebounds while Matthew Wright added 23 markers.

The scores:

Columbian 100 – Prosper 25, McCarthy 19, Perez 18, Celda 17, Khobuntin 6, Reyes 5, Camson 4, Escoto 4, Cahilig 2, Faundo 0, Tabi 0.

Phoenix 98 – Howell 35, Wright 23, Jazul 12, Intal 8, Mallari 7, Perkins 7, Chua 6, Kramer 0, Marcelo 0, Napoles 0, Dennison 0.

Quarterscores: 22-27, 49-40, 73-71, 100-98.

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