Rain or Shine gives Ginebra a dose of its own medicine with a brave fightback
Jericho Cruz celebrates after completing a steal and a layup late in Rain or Shine's comeback against Ginebra. Jaime Campos

RAIN or Shine denied Justin Brownlee the chance to rescue Barangay Ginebra once again as it completed a stunning 118-112 victory to move closer to a playoff berth in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Friday night at the Cuneta Astrodome.

The Elasto Painters climbed out of a 16-point third-quarter hole as Jericho Cruz and Jay Washington found their marks in the payoff period while new import Duke Crews dominated the boards.

That negated another clutch performance from Brownlee, who scored nine straight points in one stretch, capped by a right-wing three-pointer that gave the Gin Kings their last taste of the lead.

As a result, the E-Painters snapped a two-game skid to get back above .500 with a 5-4 win-loss card, while putting an end to the Gin Kings’ five-game winning streak, handing their victims only their second loss in seven games.

“We were losing focus early on, but I just told them to stick to what we’re doing and baka sa dulo kami swertehin,” ROS coach Caloy Garcia. “And then we were hitting our shots from outside.”

“The change of import also helped us because Duke was aggressive in rebounding,” he added.

Crews impressed in his debut after replacing Shawn Taggart as the returning import registered 28 points and hauled down 22 rebounds.

While Crews controlled the paint, Cruz and Washington picked up the cudgels on offense, combining for 21 points in the final frame to outscore the entire Gin Kings side in the period by two points.

Washington finished with 19 points, five boards, three steals, and two assists, while Washington added 16 points and seven boards, scoring three straight free throws on two plays that gave the E-Painters the lead for good.

Brownlee finished with 38 points, eight boards, and six assists, but committed a turnover that translated into a Cruz layup that gave ROS a 114-111 lead with 33 seconds left.

Joe Devance chipped in 19 points and four boards, while Japeth Aguilar suited up after playing for Gilas Pilipinas the night before, still contributing 15 points, five caroms, three blocks, and three assists in 28 minutes that went for naught.

The scores:

ROS 118 – Crews 28, Cruz 19, Washington 16, Yap 15, Ponferada 11, Cahn 8, Tiu 6, Belga 6, Trollano 6, Ahanmisi 2, Norwood 1, Tolomia 0, Matias 0

GINEBRA 112 – Brownlee 38, Devance 19, Aguilar 15, Thompson 10, Ellis 9, Ferrer 6, Caguioa 6, Mercado 5, Tenorio 4

Quarterscores: 24-31, 56-59, 83-93, 118-112

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