RAIN or Shine leaned on the splendid showing of its role players as it repulsed Barako Bull, 110-104, on Friday night to keep in step with the leaders of the Smart Bro-PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Elasto Painters, still missing star guard Paul Lee, drew contributions from all around once again to register a second straight victory and fifth overall in six games to move a half-game behind leader Alaska.
Jericho Cruz sustained his fine play while Jeff Chan was on target anew, but the E-Painters got a huge lift from Jewel Ponferrada, who registered career-highs of 18 points and 13 boards.
“It’s a game where we were able to give guys confidence, just like Jewel, who’s played well, and our rookies,” Painters coach Yeng Guiao said.
Two ROS freshmen put up solid contributions. Maverick Ahanmisi tallied 11 points and three boards in just 12 minutes, while Don Trollano emerged as an unlikely playmaker, pumping in five rebounds, three assists, and two points. Josan Nimes gained a rare start, but scored only two points in 11 minutes.
RR Garcia fired 23 points, including 11 in the fourth period as he led a rally that proved too little, too late for the Energy, who suffered a second straight setback to drop to 3-4 overall.
Willy Wilson registered another impressive showing of 21 points, 19 boards, three assists, and two blocks that all went to waste.
The Painters looked on their way to a runaway victory after they built a 96-78 lead following a Chan three-pointer halfway through the payoff period, but allowed the Energy make a fightback that saw them trim the deficit to just six points.