GABE Norwood triggered a deluge of Rain or Shine baskets in the endgame on Friday night, leading the Elasto Painters to a 99-89 win over Alaska in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The athletic Norwood banked in a three-pointer, went coast-to-coast for a drive before knocking down a wide-open corner jumper in a 13-4 closing blitz that clinched Rain or Shine's fourth win in six starts.
Returning import Wayne Chism, Jonathan Uyloan and Beau Belga also figured prominently in that finishing kick that took the fight out of the Aces, 93-85, with 1:16 remaining.
“The score doesn’t really tell how close the game is,” said Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao, whose team missed the services of combo guard Paul Lee due to a swollen left elbow.
“We survived horrible free throw shooting and we survived Paul’s absence.”
Chism made a triumphant return to the team since replacing Rick Jackson on Monday, finishing with 24 points and 22 rebounds.
“It’s a good thing Wayne came in. Wayne’s adapted to our system. He knows the guys and he knows our system. He’s in shape, so that helped us a lot in this game,” added Guiao.
Norwood had 14 points, six assists and four rebounds to win Best Player honors. Jeff Chan added 18 for the Elasto Painters.
Alaska’s new import Damion James also had an impressive debut, finishing with 28 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks. But the former San Antonio Spurs forward turned the ball over six times, including twice in the endgame.
Calvin Abueva finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds but failed to finish the game for the Aces after hurting his knee. JV Casio played for the first time this conference, scoring five points and issuing three assists.