RAIN or Shine survived a late scare by TNT KaTropa, hacking out a 106-102 victory to drag their PBA Governors’ Cup quarterfinal matchup to a deciding game.
The Elasto Painters caught fire from long range that allowed them to build a 20-point fourth-quarter lead, just enough to weather a late comeback by the twice-to-beat Texters at the Mall of Asia Arena to stay alive in their quarterfinal matchup.
J’Nathan Bullock epitomized the hot shooting as he knocked down seven of the team’s 16 three-pointers to finish with a game-high 31 points along with 14 boards as the E-Painters continued to have the Texters’ number this conference after scoring a 105-73 win in the eliminations matchup.
“I told them from them beginning, we’re a god matchup for Talk ‘N Text. It’s all about who wants it more on the defensive side,” ROS coach Caloy Garcia said. “The experience of Jayson (Castro) and Ryan (Reyes), they were able to come back. So we just have to prepare better.”
The Texters joined sister team Meralco as the teams that lost their opening playoff assignments, marking the first time top two seeds were forced to play do-or-die games since 2001 All-Filipino Cup, according to chief statistician Fidel Mangonon III.
Gabe Norwood delivered among the ROS locals with 15 points, nine rebounds, six assists, two steals, and one block in 33 minutes, and made up for a crucial inbound turnover with a steal immediately after his miscue that preserved the result for the E-Painters.
Raymond Almazan chipped 13 points, eight caroms, and two blocks, while Maverick Ahanmisi was one of three other ROS players who added 10 points apiece, scoring two on a layup that gave the E-Painters their biggest lead at 102-82 lead halfway through the payoff period.
The Texters, though, went on 20-4 run to set up the wild finish that saw them nudge to within four points.
The result spoiled another rejuvenated performance from Kelly Williams, who wound up with 23 points, 10 boards, two assists, one steal, and just one turnover in almost 39 minutes, not to mention two highlight-reel plays that went for naught.
The E-Painters’ defense was most evident on Glen Rice Jr., who shot just 8-of-28 from the field for 19 points, although the TNT import scored
ROS 106 – Bullock 31, Norwood 15, Almazan 13, Ahanmisi 10, Tiu 10, Trollano 10, Cruz 8, Belga 5, Borboran 2, Daquioag 2, Ponferada 0
TNT 102 – Williams 23, Castro 22, Semerad 19, Rice Jr. 19, Rosario 10, Pogoy 7, Seigle 2, Tautuaa 0, Reyes 0
Quarterscores: 26-28, 52-47, 84-75, 106-102