WIDE-bodied Beau Belga delivered the telling blows in the endgame as Rain or Shine knocked off Globalport, 106-96, to advance in the semifinals of the PLDT myDSL-PBA Philippine Cup on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The 6-foot-6 Belga, who had 11 points in the first half, came alive in the final minute of the Elasto Painters’ quarterfinal match against the Batang Pier.
He converted a wide-open three-point shot, pulled down a crucial defensive rebound, added a key steal, before capping his heroics by going 3-of-4 from the foul line to help Rain or Shine reach its third straight semifinals appearance.
“Globalport put up a tough fight. They (Batang Pier) kept coming back on us and we couldn’t put them away,” said Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao, whose team also extended its winning streak to a season-best eight straight games.
Guiao admitted he never thought the Batang Pier could still launch a massive late-game rally after seeing the Elasto Painters take a 15-point lead in the game.
“I thought in the third quarter, they were about to give up. I was wrong. They kept coming back. But everybody contributed in this game,” added the fiery Rain or Shine mentor.
The Elasto Painters missed top gunner Jeff Chan due to throat infection but his absence was hardly felt.
Thanks to Rain or Shine’s solid frontline of Jervy Cruz, Belga and Larry Rodriguez, who churned out big numbers and bullied Globalport’s frontline that was missing the services of injured veteran Jay Washington.
Cruz barrelled his way for 18 points, Belga finished with 17, while Rodriguez added 16 and eight boards.
The 6-foot-7 Washington watched helplessly on the bench after partially tearing his plantar fasciia two weeks ago.
Rookie guard Terrence Romeo led the Batang Pier with 23 points, but could only score four points in the entire second half.
Kelly Nabong stepped up in place of Washington with 18 points and seven rebounds as Globalport suffered a second straight early exit in the playoffs.
RAIN OR SHINE (106) -- Cruz 18, Belga 17, Rodriguez 16, Norwood 14, Arana 10, Lee 10, Quinahan 5, Tang 5, Almazan 4, Tiu 3, Nuyles 2, Teng 2, Ibanes 0.
GLOBALPORT (96) -- Romeo 23, Nabong 18, Mercado 16, Yee 7, Menk 7, Hayes 6, Salvador 6, Lingganay 5, Chua 4, Ponferada 4, Belencion 0, Salva 0, Garcia 0.
Quarterscores: 35-29; 60-52; 86-77; 106-96.