IN the absence of top gun Paul Lee, Rain or Shine has found an unlikely gunner in big man JR Quinahan.
Primarily a rugged defender, Quinahan flaunted his offensive repertoire in the team’s first two games of the season, helping Rain or Shine complete a 96-87 come-from-behind win over Star on Wednesday and a 108-94 ripping of Mahindra four days later.
The former University of Visayas star center had a team-high 17 points, grabbing eight rebounds and adding four blocks in 27 minutes of play against Star.
And to show his huge game was no fluke, the wide-bodied Cebuano fired 14 points on a near-perfect 6-of-7 from the two-point zone, while adding five boards against the shorter Mahindra front court.
“Malaking bagay talaga si JR sa amin. Lalo na kapag nagsasabay kami sa loob. Iyung inside presence niya kasi mahalaga saka nagko-complement kami,” said Beau Belga in commending 'Extra Rice Inc.' partner Quinahan’s inspired plays early in the season.
The heads-up performance rewarded Quinahan with the first Accel-PBA Press Corps Player of the Week for the 41st season, beating teammate Jericho Cruz for the weekly citation.
Belga said Quinahan’s aggressiveness was crucial for the Elasto Painters, who needed a spark now that Lee is out for at least four weeks due to a partial tear on his left meniscus.
And he believes what people saw early in the season is a product of Quinahan’s hardwork during the offseason.
“Nagtiyaga talaga iyan si JR sa offseason, kaya ngayon nakikitra natin ang bunga,” he added.
With the strong 2-0 start, Rain or Shine has enough time to plot its move before returning to action on November 4 against defending Philippine Cup champion San Miguel Beer at the Mall of Asia Arena.