If the DO was entirely phenomenological, the redundancies in it would not make sense. It would not be necessary to talk of bhava or even suffering as all that would be covered under the more present moment elements like phassa and vedana.
It is important to remember, that this is something the bodhisattva thought through, backwards. That us to say, starting with suffering, he simply wanted to find the cause of it. He kept going until no earlier cause could be discerned. So if I were to have a go..
Why am I suffering
Because I was born
Why was I born? Because there was clinging and so on..
I guess he started from very broad brush strokes and really refined it. He could see that by the removal of avijja there could be removal of those elements of consciousness, contact vedana etc. Pure wisdom dissolving 'reality'- marvellous! But for the old avijja in the form of the mind and body to resolve, there had to the physical death. I guess the phenomenology provides 'proof' (as close as we can get) that literal rebirth can be stopped, as non-arising can be experienced, even now.. and how much more, at death; and yes, the stream entrant is aware and has experiences at some level paticcasamuppada and p-nirodha. The stream entrant has not 'removed' avijja, but is mere suppression (tadanga pahana). The arahath removes curretly active avijja from his mind, removes the fetters to conditioned phenomena, is able to partake in the deathless but like the Buddha himself, was not able to stop aging disease and death which are universal truths, applicable to everyone. You could argue that what is removed is the cause for rebirth and suffering in the future. There is no way to fully verify it- short of the 'thought experiment' (if it is not too demeaning to call it that) of experiencing Nirodha... and no, faith (sadda) is not out of place in the dhamma- in fact it is essential to even start the journey to a goal which cannot be fully described. I see no other way to reconcile this.
.. and it is good enough for me- I have 'nothing' to loose and everything to gain