RAIN or Shine dealt Mahindra a reality check as it cruised to a 103-88 victory to get back on the winning track in the PBA Governors’ Cup on Friday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Elasto Painters leaned on a late surge behind a balanced local effort as replacement import Jason Forte was still feeling his way into the team, having only one practice so far after arriving early Thursday morning.
Big men Raymond Almazan and Beau Belga stood tallest for the E-Painters, who broke loose from the giant-killing Enforcer down the stretch to snap a two-game skid and move back to .500 with a 4-4 win-loss record.
“We had to do most of the hard work all-Filipino,” E-Painters coach Yeng Guiao said. “We couldn’t expect too much from Jason. If there’s anything he will contribute, it’s mostly bonus for us. And we expected it to be this way.”
“But we expected a hard game against Mahindra,” the champion coach was quick to add as his team handed the Enforcer only their third loss in nine games that dropped them to third spot.
The E-Painters thus remained one of only two teams, the other being Ginebra, the Enforcer have yet to beat since joining the league last season.
Alamazan scored a team-high 14 points, including eight in the final frame where the E-Painters outscored the Enforcer, 35-25, while Belga continued his resurgence by adding 13 points, eight boards, four assists, and one block to lead five locals who scored in twin digits.
Forte, who replaced Dior Lowhorn the last minute, was held to just 10 points – missing all but one of his eight free-throw attempts – six boards, one assist, and one block in less than 17 minutes off the bench.
Aldrech Ramos shrugged off a tweaked ankle in the third quarter, leading the Enforcer with 17 points and five boards as he stepped up in the absence of injured Nino Canaleta.
ROS 103 – Almazan 14, Belga 13, Cruz 12, Lee 12, Chan 10, Forte 10, Norwood 7, Quinahan 7, Ahanmisi 6, Trollano 5, Ponferada 4, Matias 3
MAHINDRA 88 – Ramos 17, White 16, Guinto 12, Yee 12, Revilla 8, Taha 6, Agovida 5, Digregorio 5, Aguilar 4, Bagatsing 2, Ballesteros 1, Elorde 0, Jaime 0, Pacquiao 0, Webb 0
Quarterscores: 20-15, 46-44, 68-63, 103-88