RAIN or Shine got its act together just in time to hack out a 111-105 come-from-behind win over Alaska to boost its bid for an outright semifinal berth in the Smart Bro-PBA Philippine Cup Friday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Beau Belga topscored for 17 points in leading a balanced-offensive attack for the Elasto Painters, who had six other players finishing in double figures.
The Elasto Painters trailed for the most part of the showdown pitting two of the conference’s top contenders, but outplayed the Aces in the pivotal fourth to tie their victims in second place on 7-2 records just behind solo leader San Miguel (8-1).
They face Meralco and NLEX in their final two games which coach Yeng Guiao hopes the team will both win to make the semis outright.
“Hope we can make the semis outright. That’s our goal from now,” said Guiao. “We can’t lose to any of those teams (Meralco and NLEX) or our chance will be a lot less.”
The Aces led by eight at the half and were sitting on an 81-67 edge when the Elasto Painters suddenly scored 14 unanswered points to tie the game at 81 entering the final quarter.
Alaska led for the last time at 97-96 with 4:25 left before Rain or Shine went on a telling 10-4 run to clinch the all-important win, 107-100.
“Alaska is classy team so you have to play your best when you play them,” said Guiao of the Aces.
“We just try to keep our composure even under pressure. We were behind for the most part of the game. We just act together, get our composure, our poise. We waited for the time when we can get the game close enough for us to be able to put some pressure on them, too.”
Vic Manuel led Alaska with 24 points and nine rebounds, Cyrus Baguio had 19, while Calvin Abueva finished with 10, although he was sparingly used in the final period after hurting his ankle late in the third quarter.
Rain or Shine (111) - Belga 17, Almazan 13, Cruz 13, Chan 12, Quinahan 12, Trollano 12, Norwood 11, Ponferada 8, Ahanmisi 7, Tiu 4, Nimes 2, Ibanes 0, Matias 0, Teng 0.
Alaska (105) - Manuel 24, Baguio 14, Abueva 10, Hontiveros 9, Menk 9, dela Cruz 8, Jazul 8, Casio 7, Banchero 6, Thoss 6, Baclao 2, dela Rosa 2, Exciminiano 0, Racal 0.
Quarterscores: 32-28; 64-56; 81-81; 111-105.