RAIN or Shine proved why it’s a tough hurdle in San Miguel Beer’s title-retention bid as the Elasto Painters frustrated the Beermen, 99-84, to grab the solo lead in the PBA Philippine Cup on Wednesday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Elasto Painters picked both poisons of stopping reigning league MVP June Mar Fajardo down low as well as challenging the Beermen’s shooters, but never choked as they rolled to the lopsided win to remain unbeaten in three games.
The deending champion Beermen, who shot a measly 32 percent (31-of-96) from the field, failed in their first real acid test as they suffered their first defeat in three outings.
“It’s one of those days that you’re able to disrupt the rhythm of San Miguel,” Painters coach Yeng Guiao said. “Things fell into place for us.”
“It’s a morale-boosting win.”
The E-Painters likewise clicked offensively as Raymond Almazan and Beau Belga registered 15 points apiece, while rookie Maverick Ahanmisi provided a spark by scoring 14 points for the second straight game.
The Painters turned a close game into a rout starting in the third quarter, where they outran and outscored the Beermen, 30-14, before zooming away further in the payoff period where they established their biggest lead at 17.
Alex Cabagnot led the way for SMB with 16 points, but missed seven of his nine three-point attempts, while Arwind Santos missed nine of his 11 treys—a testament to the team’s long-range shooting as a unit.
Fajardo added 13 points on just seven attempts.
RAIN OR SHINE 99 - Almazan 15, Belga 15, Chan 15, Ahanmisi 14, Norwood 14, Ponferada 8, Tiu 8, Ibanes 6, Cruz 3, Quinahan 1, Trollano 0.
SAN MIGUEL 84 - Cabagnot 16, Fajardo 13, Lassiter 12, Santos 12, Espinas 10, Ross 10, Tubid 5, Lutz 4, Reys 2, Arana 0, De Ocampo 0, Heruela 0.
Quarters: 22-22, 41-44, 71-58, 99-84