UNDERMANNED Rain or Shine needed two key spurts in the final period to outlast a surprisingly tough Blackwater squad, 82-75, and chalk up its first win in the PBA Philippine Cup on Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
On a night that saw them struggle to a 0-of-25 from beyond the arc, the Elasto Painters mustered just enough will and energy to uncork a 15-2 run to open the fourth quarter and finally grab the lead at 66-62.
Bryan Faundo’s corner jumper gave the Elite their last taste of the lead at 70-68, before the Elasto Painters unleashed another 14-5 windup to seal the win and avoid starting the season with a 0-2 (win-loss0 card.
“They (Elite) gave us a really tough time. It’s really just our experience that won us the game,” said Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao, who missed the services of injured guards Paul Lee (hyperextended knee) and Chris Tiu (hamstring).
“I guess it’s just that people tend to underestimate the expansion teams, but they are stronger than they look. And if you’re not ready on a given night, they’re gonna spring some surprises."
Guiao said the Painters were simply lucky to have survived a poor shooting night, which saw veteran gunner Jeff Chan struggle from the field for the second straight game.
The 6-2 Chan, who only took a weeklong break after playing for Gilas Pilipinas the past two months, scored just nine points after shooting 3-of-12 from the field.
The left-handed shooter out of Far Eastern University was 0-of-6 from beyond the arc, just days after going 3-of-10 in a 79-87 loss to San Miguel Beer in the Painters' season debut.
“It’s just lucky for us to gather ourselves in time to win this game,” said the fiery Rain or Shine mentor. “The only advantage for us going to the fourth quarter was our experience.”
Sophomore big man Raymond Almazan was the lone double-figure scorer for Rain or Shine with 17 points, to go along with nine rebounds and three blocks to earn Best Player of the Game honors.
Aging forward Eddie Laure played with youthful zest, finishing with 16 points and 12 rebounds in a solid effort to lead Blackwater, which fell to 0-2 after squandering a big lead yet again.
The Elite fell to fellow expansion squad KIA Motors on opening day, 80-66 after blowing a 16-point lead.
RAIN OR SHINE 82 - Almazan 17, Chan 9, Belga 9, Ibanes 8, Cruz Jericho 8, Norwood 7, Cruz Jervy 6, Quinahan 6, Uyloan 4, Tang 4, Teng 2, Arana 2.
BLACKWATER 75 - Laure 16, Nuyles 13, Gamalinda 13, Tiongson 12, Faundo 6, Menor 5, Artadi 4, Erram 2, Rodriguez 2, Ballesteros 2, Timberlake 0.
Quarterscores: 11-16, 31-40, 51-60, 82-75