RAIN or Shine struggled anew but was still good enough to get past 10th seeded Blackwater, 95-90, and advance to the next round of the Smart Bro-PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinal playoffs on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Jeff Chan had 17 points to lead all scorers for the Elasto Painters, who dominated the entire match but had trouble finishing off an Elite side seeing action in its first-ever playoff appearance.
The scrambling win – which came exactly a week after the team failed to secure an outright semis berth following a stunning loss to NLEX in the penultimate day of the eliminations – naturally didn’t sit well with coach Yeng Guiao.
“If we keep playing like this, we may end up not making it to the next round,” said the outspoken Guiao.
“If we want to make the semifinals, we have to play better (than this).”
The Elasto Painters began to create some gap between them and the Elite in the second quarter as Chan scored 10 of his output during the stretch that gave the team its biggest lead at 47-34.
But like their loss to the Road Warriors, Rain or Shine couldn’t put Blackwater away, which even tied the game at 75-all on Carlo Lastimosa basket at the 7:41 mark of the fourth quarter.
Big shots down the stretch – and a couple of turnover and miscues by the Elite – including a two-handed slam by Gabe Norwood, bailed the Elasto Painters out of danger.
“It was a struggle shaking off Blackwater,” admitted Guiao, whose team will now face the winner of the other quarterfinal pairing between sister-teams TNT and NLEX.
Lastimosa put on another monster performance for Blackwater with 35 points – 31 of them coming through the second half as he single-handedly tried to carry the fight for the team.
It was the third 30-plus point game for the former St. Benilde stalwart , which includes a career-high of 38 against Barako Bull, this all-Filipino conference, tying him for first place with Globalport’s own gunner Terrence Romeo.
But the effort fell short as the Elite failed to forge a sudden-death game against the third-seeded Elasto Painters.
“in the end I guess the effort of one guy (Carlo) Lastimosa was not enough. We were lucky he didn’t get enough support from his teammates,” said Guiao. “We couldn’t stop him.”
Rain or Shine (95) - Chan 17, Quinahan 16, Ahanmisi 11, Almazan 11, Cruz 9, Norwood 8, Belga 7, Tiu 6, Ponferada 4, Trollano 4, Ibanes 2, Teng.
Blackwater (90) - Lastimosa 35, Dela Cruz 11, Erram 11, Reyes 9, Gamalinda 6, Agovida 5, Cortez 5, Golla 4, Ballesteros 2, Melano 2, Canada 0, Vosotros 0.
Quarterscores: 17-14; 44-34; 69-60; 95-90.