Rain or Shine through an aggressive fourth quarter game scored a 96-87 come-from-behind win over Star Hotshots on Wednesday in the opening day of the Philippine Basketball Association Season 41 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Veteran Jay-R Quinahan led the Elasto Paintmasters’ blistering offensive by scoring 17 points plus eight rebounds and four blocks while guard Jericho Cruz scored seven of his 15 points in the fourth period.
“It is an ugly win because we can’t get good offense and defense, but we stayed patient with our executions and it paid off very well in the second half, something happened good,” said Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao during a post game interview.
Guiao and his wards pulled of a win even without Paul Lee who has to skip several games because of an injured anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.
“We have a lot of adjustments. All resulted positively fortunately for us,” added Guiao. “Eventually we settled down that was the key.”
“Paul Lee is gonna be out about four weeks and we want to make it sooner but we dont want to force the issue. We’ll try to survive without Paul and keep ourselves in contention. It’s also an opportunity for our rookies and for our guards to step in his shoes.”
“Jason Webb is going to be a great coach in this league.”
Star Hotshots gunner Yap scored nine points early in the game to establish a 25-17 lead for his team by the end of first period. Star posted its biggest lead midway in the second frame 45-33 behind Mark Barroca’s run- ning jumper.
But Rain or Shine was able to narrow the gap to 40-47 at halftime when the combined effort of Quinahan, Cruz and swingman Gabe Norwood resulted in additional seven points in the last 2:41 of the second period.
Prior to that, the 6’6 Cebuano Quinahan had already nine points, five rebounds and three blocks for the Elasto Paintmasters.
Rain or Shine outscored Star in the third period 29-23 to further narrow the gap 69-70 by the start of the final period.
Quinahan’s short jumper finally gave the Elasto Paintmasters the lead 71-70 at the beginning of the fourth period. It was then that big man Beau Belga scored eight of his 11 points to stretch Rain or Shine’s lead to 92-82 with only three minutes left in the game.
Norwood wowed the crowd with a fast break dunk with 3:41 left.
Up with a comfortable lead heading to the last minute mark, Rain or Shine was never threatened from that point on.
Star Hotshots new head coach Webb absorbed his first loss this season.
James Yap, Alex Mallari and Mark Barroca led Star with 15 points each.