JEFF Chan waxed hot in the second half to carry Rain or Shine to a 92-78 beating of defending champion Alaska for its first win in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum Saturday.
After taking just two attempts in the first half, the 6-foot-2 Chan caught fire in the last two quarters by scoring all of his 24 points during the stretch as the Elasto Painters handed the Aces their third loss in four starts.
Rain or Shine improved to 1-1.
“We played a little better today than the last time. We just shot better today and we played a lot better in defense,” said Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao, whose team bounced back from a stinging 106-110 setback to Barako Bull last week.
Guiao said the Elasto Painters were more mentally prepared on Saturday compared to their conference debut against the Energy.
“The chemistry is back, the cohesion is back. Now, it’s just a matter of getting focused in this conference because we struggled in the last game. We were not mentally there in the game,” he added.
Rain or Shine led by as many as 67-49 following a Larry Rodriguez jumper late in the third period.
But the Aces unleashed a huge rally in the final period, closing in at 68-71, before Chan came to Rain or Shine’s rescue.
The former Far Eastern University mainstay fired four three-point shots in the team’s telling 19-5 exchange that all but settled the outcome of the match.
Chan finished the game by shooting 6-of-10 from beyond the arc.
Import Alexander McLean added 19 points and 18 rebounds, while Paul Lee had 11 markers, five boards, and five assists.
Reigning Best Import Robert Dozier had his best performance in the shortened conference with 27 points, 20 rebounds and five blocks, but no other local player scored in double figures as the Aces turned the ball over 19 times.
Rain or Shine (92) -- Chan 24, McLean 19, Lee 11, Almazan 9, Tiu 9, Arana 8, Rodriguez 4, Cruz 3, Belga 2, Tang 2, Norwood 1, Teng 0, Ibanes 0.
Alaska (78) -- Dozier 27, Jazul 9, Thoss 8, Hontiveros 7, Casio 5, Abueva 5, Manuel 5, Dela Cruz 2.
Quarterscores: 18-17; 38-32; 69-58; 92-78.