RAIN or Shine drew first blood in the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals by beating Magnolia, 84-77, on Friday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Beau Belga scored 12 points and sparked a decisive 9-0 run in the fourth quarter when the Elastopainters shook off a late-game wobble to put the game away, 73-63.
Game Two of the best-of-seven series is set on Sunday, also at the Big Dome.
“It’s great to win the first game but we just have to forget about the game and think about Game Two,” said Rain or Shine coach Caloy Garcia. “I know we won but it was a hard battle. We know that they are going to do good adjustments in the second game.”
Rookie Javee Mocon had 15 points and 10 rebounds to earn the Best Player of the Game honor. Gabe Norwood also added 13 points and eight rebounds for the Elastopainters.
Magnolia began the third period with a 43-35 lead but that soon disappeared as Rey Nambatac presided over a Rain or Shine that turned the game around, 61-58.
Paul Lee, a former Rain or Shine player, led the Hotshots with 15 points. He was able to close the gap to one point, 64-63, before RoS went on the game-clinching run.
Ian Sangalang had 13 points for the Hotshots, who only took a one-day break after winning a quarterfinal series against Barangay Ginebra that went the distance.
Things got heated in the fourth quarter when Belga and Sangalang had an exchange of words that led to technical fouls for both players.
Rain or Shine 84 – Mocon 15, Norwood 13, Belga 12, Daquioag 10, Rosales 9, Yap 8, Nambatac 7, Borboran 6, Ponferada 2, Torres 2, Ahanmisi 0.
Magnolia 77 – Lee 15, Sangalang 13, Barroca 12, Jalalon 11, Reavis 9, Melton 7, Ramos 4, Brondial 4, Dela Rosa 2, Simon 0, Herndon 0.
Quarters: 19-16; 33-37; 61-58; 84-77.