RAIN or Shine showed it can win with its defense as it hacked out an 82-79 victory over TNT KaTropa to jumpstart its PBA Philippine Cup campaign on Friday night at the Cuneta Astrodome.
Historically known as a run-and-gun team, the Elasto Painters got caught in a low-scoring affair with the Texters, proving just steadier down the stretch to emerge victorious in a grind-out battle.
Chris Tiu and Maverick Ahanmisi hit the free throws that proved to be the insurance points for the E-Painters, who saw the Texters threaten after almost erasing an eight-point deficit with four minutes left.
Beau Belga led the E-Painters with 14 points, five rebounds and three assists to take Player of the Game honors.
“It’s good to start the season with a win, but ang daming lapses,” ROS coach Caloy Garcia said. “We can’t win lots of games if we continue this way.”
“Sabi ko sa mga players, we practiced hard for one month and 'wag nilang sayangin,” he added.
After all, the E-Painters, who led, 76-68, with four minutes left, allowed the Texters to make a late run, coming to within three points after Kelly Williams buried a wide-open three-pointer from the right wing with 25 seconds left.
ROS again left Williams open in the Texters’ last offensive possession, just heaving a sigh of relief after the former league MVP missed his attempt and Ahanmisi grabbed the defensive board.
The E-Painters won despite seeing the Texters grab a whopping 72 rebounds, including 32 on offensive end, outrebounding the winners by 18 boards, and committing 19 turnovers – three more than the Texters.
The E-Painters turned to a balanced offensive effort that saw no one scoring more than 15 points, with Beau Belga leading the way with 14 points, on top of five boards, three assists, one steal, and one block in 27 minutes off the bench.
Tiu added 12 points, three rebounds, one assist, and one steal, while Raymond Almazan scattered 11 points, 10 boards, three blocks, and one assist. Gabe Norwood was the other ROS player in twin-digit scoring with 11 points, four boards, two steals, and one assist.
The result spoiled an all-around performance from Jayson Castro who registered 18 points, 10 assists, and missed a triple-double by just one rebound in 35 minutes.
RAIN OR SHINE 82 — Belga 14, Tiu 12, Almazan 11, Norwood 11, Ahanmisi 9, Daquioag 8, Borboran 5, Nambatac 5, Trollano 4, Ponferrada 3, Maiquez 0, Yap 0
TNT 79 – Castro 18, Pogoy 16, Semerad 13, Williams 11, Rosario 8, Reyes 7, Torres 4, Tautuaa 2, Carey 0, Nuyles 0, Tallo 0
Quarterscores: 20-20, 43-37, 62-51, 82-79