THE real Rain or Shine finally showed up as it rolled past Star, 108-97, to stay alive in the playoff race of the PBA Governors’ Cup on Friday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
With their backs against the wall, the Elasto Painters brought their A-game to snap a two-game skid and deny the Hotshots a positive end to a miserable season.
Josh Dollard showed better chemistry with his teammates as he registered 27 points and 14 boards, Extra Rice Inc. tandem Beau Belga and JR Quinahan provided significant contribution off the bench, while Paul Lee and Jeff Chan bounced back from lackluster performances as the E-Painters arranged a playoff with Phoenix for the last spot.
The result also allowed NLEX, which lost earlier to Alaska, to clinch the seventh seed for having the best quotient among the E-Painters and the Fuel Masters – the three teams that finished the eliminations with a 5-6 win-loss record.
“Wala naman kaming karapatan na tumigin pa outside the playoff,” E-Painters coach Yeng Guiao said. “We’re still in survival mode”
“We’re just happy we won,” he added. “It’s been a struggle all-conference long, but as long as we have a chance to get to the next round, we’ll keep playing as hard as we can.”
The E-Painters dealt the Hotshots their ninth loss in 11 games as their victims missed injured James Yap and Marc Pingris, who was benched after coming in late.
Belga registered 14 points, while Quinahan added 11 points. Lee and Chan, who combined for just two points in their loss to San Miguel Beer last Saturday, chipped in 11 and nine points, respectively for the E-Painters, who erected a 19-point lead early in the fourth, a cushion enough to weather a late Hotshots rally.
Joel Wright tallied 27 points, including two on a trip from the charity stripe that pulled the Hotshots to within eight points, 97-89, with less than five minutes to go, but that was the closest they got.
Rain or Shine 108 – Dollard 27, Belga 14, Lee 11, Quinahan 10, Chan 9, Cruz 8, Almazan 8, Norwood 8, Ahanmisi 6, Ponferada 4, Tiu 3, Trollano 0
Star 97 – Wright 27, Simon 15, Sangalang 12, Maliksi 9, Melton 8, Pascual 8, Mallari 6, Garcia 6, Brondial 6, Reavis 0, Barroca 0, Gaco 0
Quarterscores: 28-26; 54-41; 80-66; 108-97