BEAU Belga drained the go-ahead baseline jumper, then grabbed a crucial end game rebound preserve Rain or Shine’s 90-88 win over three-time champion Talk ‘N Text in the main game of the PLDT myDSL-PBA Philippine Cup on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Belga bravely battled the bigger Talk ‘N Text defenders, and combined well with heavyweight `Extra Rice' frontline partner JR Quinahan as they teamed-up to help the Elasto Painters quell a furious fourth quarter rally by the Tropang Texters to chalk up their fifth straight win.
Talk ‘N Text had one last chance to snatch the win away outright, but Ranidel de Ocampo missed a desperation three-point attempt, after which Belga came down with the defensive rebound to seal the outcome of the match.
Rain or Shine moved up to a tie for second place with idle Petron as the race for the no. 2 slot continues to be a tight affair between the two teams.
“We just rode on our energy. We tried to stay aggressive all the way to the endgame and I think we did a pretty good job defensively against their guards, Jimmy (Alapag) and Jason (Castro),” said Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao.
The loss officially bundled Talk ‘N Text out of the running for the no. 2 slot that offers a twice-to-beat incentive heading into the quarterfinals.
The Tropang Texters dropped to 7-5 with two games left on their schedule.
Rain or Shine matched up well against Talk ‘N Text, the same team that swept the Elasto Painters in last year’s Philippine Cup Finals, 4-0.
“We were able to carve out the win, but the good thing is we’re beating the tough teams in endgame situations,” said Guiao, referring to Rain or Shine’s victories over Petron, San Mig Super Coffee, and now, Talk ‘N Text.
“It shows mental toughness and the will to win. I think it’s looking pretty good.”
De Ocampo led the Tropang Texters with 24 points and 13 rebounds, while Danny Seigle added 18.
Jason Castro chipped in 17, but had a poor shooting night after finishing with just 4-of-13 shooting overall in the game.
RAIN OR SHINE (90) -- Quinahan 19, Belga 16, Nuyles 13, Lee 8, Chan 7, Cruz 6, Tiu 5, Arana 4, Rodriguez 4, Norwood 4, Tang 2, Ibanes 2, Almazan 0.
TALK N' TEXT (88) -- De Ocampo 24, Seigle 18, Castro 17, Alapag 9, Fonacier 8, Aban 4, Anthony 3, Reyes 3, Baclao 2, Peek 0, Ferriols 0, Poligrates 0, Carey 0.
Quarterscores: 24-18; 45-46; 71-70; 90-88.