Jericho Cruz continues sophomore surge, sparks Rain or Shine rout of Blackwater
Jericho Cruz scored a career-high 23 points for Rain or Shine. Jerome Ascano

RAIN or Shine vented its ire on Blackwater, cruising to a 103-81 victory to get back on the winning track in the Smart Bro-PBA Philippine Cup on Saturday at the Cuneta Astrodome.

Eager to atone for a close 113-111 loss to GlobalPort last week that snapped a three-game winning streak, the Elasto Painters built an early lead and didn’t show any let up to score the lopsided result.

Jericho Cruz sustained his sophomore surge, firing a career-high 23 points in just 20 minutes, along with three assists, two boards, and one steal for the Painters, who gained a share of the lead with San Miguel Beer and Alaska.

“I guess we were really excited to get back to playing again after our heartbreak loss,” E-Painters coach Yeng Guiao said.

“But we did not take this team for granted and we were not going to be complacent in this game,” he added. “That’s why the energy level was high especially in the second half.”

Art dela Cruz flashed his potential as he rookie forward tallied 15 points for the Elite, who suffered a second straight loss and fourth overall against a lone win.

Cruz scored 14 of his total output in the third quarter where the Painters started to pull away, extending an eight-point halftime lead to 19 points entering the final frame.

Jewel Ponferrada added 15 points, while Extra Rice Inc. Beau Belga and JR Quinahan combined for 23 points and 13 boards for the Painters, who outrebounded the Elite, 54-43.

The scores:

RAIN OR SHINE 103 – Cruz 23, Ponferada 15, Belga 12, Quinahan 11, Ahanmisi 8, Almazan 8, Teng 6, Tiu 6, Matias 5, Nimes 4, Chan 3, Trollano 2, Ibanes 0, Norwood 0

BLACKWATER 81 – Dela Cruz 15, Erram 14, Cervantes 9, Lastimosa 7, Gamalinda 6, Melano 6, Cortez 5, Ballesteros 4, Golla 4, Reyes 4, Sena 3, Agovida 2, Vosotros 2, Canada 0

Quarterscores: 25-16, 47-39, 80-61, 103-81

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos