RAIN or Shine didn't leave nothing to chance, making short work of NorthPort, 91-85, to enter the semifinals of the PBA Philippine Cup on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Ed Daquioag topscored with 15 points while Rey Nambatac had 14 for the second-seeded Elasto Painters, who are back in the semis after missing the playoffs of the Governors Cup last season.
After a long break, the Elasto Painters started a bit tentative, but once they got their rhythm going in the second quarter there was no turning back for them.
The No. 7 seed Batang Pier suffered another early exit in the playoffs as they missed the services of do-it-all forward Sean Anthony due to a strained groin.
"Before the game started, I told the players that the only thing I'm worried about is the first quarter because we haven't played for three weeks," said Rain or Shine coach Caloy Garcia.
But Nambatac allayed Garcia's fears as he scored six points in the second quarter when the Elasto Painters outscoted the Batang Pier, 29-16, and turned a three-point deficit into a 43-33 lead at the half.
Nambatac went 4-of-5 from three-point range and added five rebounds and two assists.
Beau Belga added 13 points while Gabe Norwood, Jewel Ponferada, and rookie Javee Mocon combined for 24 points for the Elasto Painters, who will face next the winner of the Barangay Ginebra-Magnolia quarterfinals series.
"I just told the players that at any given time they have to step up," said Garcia. "I think that's the reason why we won today because everybody stepped up from the bench."
Moala Tautuaa finished with 24 points and seven rebounds for the Batang Pier, who got only nine points from main man Stanley Pringle as he struggled on 3-of-15 shooting.
Garvo Lanete tried to fill the gap left by Anthony by contributing 20 points on 5-of-11 shooting from downtown.
Rain or Shine (91) - Daquioag 15, Nambatac 14, Belga 13, Norwood 8, Mocon 8, Ponferada 8, Yap 7, Ahanmisi 5, Torres 5, Rosales 4, Borboran 4, Onwubere 0, Alejandro 0, Maiquez 0.
NorthPort (85) - Tautuaa 24, Lanete 20, Gray 11, Pringle 9, Taha 7, Bolick 5, Elorde 5, Guinto 4, Gabayni 0, Flores 0, Sollano 0.
Quarterscores: 14-17; 43-33; 73-62; 91-85