RAIN or Shine bounced back from a sorry loss to Petron Blaze with a big 71-62 stoppage of Air21 in the PBA Philippine Cup Phoenix Road Game on Tour at the Mindanao Civic Center in Tubod, Lanao del Norte Saturday night.
The Elasto Painters wore down the Express with their airtight defense, holding down Air21 top two gunners KG Canaleta and veteran playmaker Mike Cortez en route to booking their seventh win in 10 outings.
The reigning Governors Cup champions are now just half a game behind second-running San Mig Coffee (7-2).
On the other hand, Air21 saw its three-game winning streak snapped as it remained at the bottom half of the standings with a 4-6 record.
The Express made one big scoring burst late in the third period, razing a 12-point Elasto Painters lead to threaten at 49-50 behind Mark Isip and Bonbon Custodio.
But Rain or Shine turned to Jeff Chan, Gabe Norwood, and unheralded power forward Larry Rodriguez to reestablish a 65-52 lead that it never relinquished spread midway in the final canto.
The victory ended Rain or Shine’s nine-game losing streak in out-of-town games of the All-Filipino conference dating back to the 2008 season.
On the other hand, Air21 remains winless on the road since entering the league last season as Shopinas.com Clickers. They are now 0-4 overall.
Chan paced the Elasto Painters with 15 points, while big boys Beau Belga and Jervy Cruz chipped in 10 markers each.
Canaleta wound up with 18 points to lead Air21, while Isip added 12.
Cortez, who came into the game averaging 18 points and 8.5 assists since being traded to Air21, was held down to just 11 points and three assists.
Rain or Shine (71) -- Chan 15, Belga 10, Cruz 10, Norwood 9, Rodriguez 8, Quinahan 5, Arana 4, Jaime 3, Matias 3, Ibanes 2, Tang 2, Uyloan 0.
Air21 (62) -- Canaleta 18, Isip 12, Cortez 11, Wilson 6, Custodio 6, Baclao 4, Sena 2, Ritualo 2, Reyes 1, Omolon 0, Arboleda 0.
Quarterscores: 21-15; 38-30; 54-49; 71-62.