RAIN or Shine, a team that nearly put itself on the PBA record of futility on the offensive end is now getting a lot of help, just in time for the stretch run of the Philippine Cup.
The Elastopainters on Sunday proved that they can match side by side with any opponent on the offensive end after they defeated San Miguel, 95-93, in their best scoring performance of the conference.
The team is now 6-4 win-loss, already equaling their win total last year and within striking distance of at least the No. 3 to No. 6 spots for a much manageable best-of-three quarterfinals.
Just last July 28, things looked bleak as Rain or Shine went to the record books with the second lowest output by a losing team in PBA history after producing just 48 in a 26-point blowout against Alaska, only one point shy of what Shell did in 2000 when it lost to Mobiline in the 2000 All-Filipino Conference.
ROS rookies providing offensive boost
But the Elastopainters seemed to have solved their offensive woes with contributions from all over – from the rookies in Santi Santillan, Anton Asistio, and Andrei Caracut, to the veterans in James Yap, to the young stars of the team in Javee Mocon and Rey Nambatac.
“I honestly feel that we’ve got a lot of contributions from our rookies,” said Rain or Shine coach Chris Gavina. “Santi, Anton, Andrei have all given us the much-needed point production.
“Of course, you can’t forget James and his level of experience and veteran leadership and his ability of getting to the basket. We have our mainstays Rey and Javee,” Gavina said.
Aside from the usual suspects, Rain or Shine is currently on a two-game winning streak that started with a 75-72 win over Magnolia Pambansang Manok thanks to the production of the rookies and leading the way is Santillan, who had outputs of 14 and 21 in their last two games.
“Consistency lang talaga,” said Santillan. “Ang sabi lang ni coach, kung maganda ‘yung laro mo last game, kailangan ganun din this game.”
Asistio has also been chipping in, scoring in double figures in two of the last three games including a 14-point effort against Magnolia, while Caracut has also been steady with two seven-point contributions in the past games.
“Malaking tiwala talaga ‘yung mga beterano sa aming mga rookies. Hindi namin binigo ‘yung tiwala nila. Talagang go-hard kami pag pumapasok sa court,” said Santillan.
Of course, no one will question the scoring ability of Yap, who at 39 still has the ability put points on the board. Since his return, Yap has averaged seven points per game in the last four outings including 14 against Magnolia.
Mocon and Nambatac, meanwhile, have been leading the way for Rain or Shine, averaging 13.4 and 11.2 respectively, with Beau Belga still providing scoring and also toughness with averages of 9.1 points and 6.1 rebounds per outing.
Even with the two victories over formidable foes, Gavina still feels there is a lot to work on the offensive side while maintaining their defense as the playoffs nears.
Even with the gains, Rain or Shine remains at the bottom in terms of points scored per game with 76.3, two points behind last place Blackwater. The Elastopainters are still one of the best defensive teams, statistics-wise, giving up an average of 77.2 per outing, only better than TNT with 76.8.
“It takes another step towards the right direction moving forward to the playoffs. We still feel that we are definitely a work in progress in regards to how we want to score in the higher 80s and 90s and combined it with our defense.”
“Our players preached consistency and discipline. These guys showed a great deal of effort heart and determination to pull out wins these past few games,” said Gavina.