PETRON vented all its frustrations on a lackluster Rain or Shine side Wednesday night, fashioning out a convincing 96-86 win that snapped its skid in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Hurting veteran Danny Ildefonso returned to active duty, played for a brief seven minutes, and inspired the Boosters no end in avenging an 86-102 loss to the same Elasto Painters team in the first round.
Coach Olsen Racela credited Ildefonso, the former two-time league MVP, for his heroic act of suiting up for the injury-depleted Boosters team despite having to endure a nagging dislocated left shoulder injury.
“Danny wasn’t supposed to play. Alam niyang kulang kami, but the true professional that he is and the true friend that he is, tumulong siya sa akin,” said Racela of his former teammate.
“Even though he had dislocated shoulder, siya pa unang nag-dive sa bola, which motivated the team. Malaking bagay yun.”
Ildefonso’s effort rubbed off on the rest of the Boosters as the team finally arrested a three-game losing streak.
“It feels good to finally win after losing three games. We needed this win badly not only for the standings, but also for our confidence,” stressed Racela. “We lost to teams that were below the standings and I feel this win against a top team will bring our confidence back.”
Following the win, Petron forged a three-way tie at 4-5 with Barangay Ginebra and Air21, which earlier nipped Alaska, 104-103.
The loss denied Rain or Shine an opportunity to grab a share of the lead with idle Talk ‘N Text as the Elasto Painters slid to third place with a 6-3 (win-loss) record.
The third period proved to be the game’s turning point as the Boosters outscored the Elasto Painters, 33-12.
Fil-Ams Chris Lutz and Marcio Lassiter presided over that explosive stretch for the Boosters, combining for 15 points on three triples to touch off a huge scoring tear that deflated the Elasto Painters’ confidence.
Surprisingly, even without a legitimate center, the Boosters won the battle off the boards, 45-43, as injured players rookie center JuneMar Fajardo and 6-foot-7 veteran Dorian Pena continue to sit on the bench.
Reserve center Bryan Faundo, signed up to a short-term deal by Petron, provided quality minutes by scoring six points, grabbing six rebounds, and adding one block in 27 minutes of action before fouling out.
Racela credited the team’s defense that spelled the difference as the Boosters held the Elasto Painters to just 35.9 percent clip on 28-of-78 shooting.
Lutz led the Boosters with 19 points, spiked with four-of-eight three-point shooting. On the other hand, Arwind Santos registered his seventh double-double of the conference with 16 points and 15 rebounds in another herculean effort for the Boosters.
Petron (96) --Lutz 19, Santos 16, Washington 14, Lassiter 12, Cabagnot 11, Miranda 10, Faundo 6, Yeo 6, Duncil 2, Ildefonso 0.
Rain or Shine (86) -- Chan 20, Belga 14, Quinahan 11, Cruz 10, Rodriguez 10, Tang 8, Ibanes 6, Matias 4, Norwood 3, Arana 0
Quarterscores: 25-15, 46-45, 79-57, 96-86.