DAVAO - Rain or Shine showed why it remained a force to be reckoned with in the PBA Philippine Cup, but only after surviving a late scare by Alaska, 87-74, on Sunday night at the University of Southeastern Philippines gym.
The Elasto Painters, who reached the finals in the All-Filipino conference last year, leaned on its torrid shooting to join Barangay Ginebra and defending champion Talk ‘N Text as opening-day winners.
The historic match was one of the three games held in the three major cities of the country in the opening of the 39th season of Asia’s first play-for-pay league.
Jeff Chan, one of the best shooters in the country, gave the sellout crowd in the 8,000-seater venue a treat by leading the offensive onslaught with 17 points, including a left-wing triple late in the third quarter that gave the Painters their biggest lead at 68-48.
“We just have to take care of the rebounds and we have to keep on shooting when we’re open. And nagawa naman namin yun,” said Painters assistant coach Caloy Garcia, whose team, anchored by the Extra Rice Inc. of Beau Belga and JR Quinahan, outrebounded the opposition, 54-49.
“At yung defense yung nagdala sa game namin that’s why we had big lead.”
The Painters enjoyed a sizeable cushion throughout, but saw the Aces threaten down the stretch behind their own long bombs courtesy of JV Casio, Dondon Hontiveros, and rookie Ryan Buenafe.
Trailing, 62-81, with three minutes and 25 seconds remaining, the Aces used a 12-2 salvo to cut the deficit to just nine points, 74-83, before the Painters held on.
ROS forced Alaska to 20 turnovers and limited them to 34-percent shooting.
Rain or Shine (87) – Chan 17, Rodriguez 13, Cruz 12, Quinahan 9, Norwood 8, Ibanes 6, Belga 5, Teng 5, Arana 4, Lee 4, Nuyles 4, Matias 0
Alaska (74) – Baguio 17, Casio 10, Hontiveros 10, Espinas 8, Abueva 7, Ramos 7, Buenafe 5, Jazul 5, Thoss 3, Avenido 2, Eman 0, Dela Cruz 0
Quarterscores: 24-18, 48-39, 70-52, 87-74