Rain or Shine held off Star’s fourth quarter surge to prevail with a 92-88 triumph on Sunday for its third consecutive victory in the Philippine Basketball Association Season 42 Governors Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.
Jericho Cruz scored 10 of his 18 points in the last quarter, including the crucial trey with 3:04 left in the game to help the Elasto Painters establish an 84-74 lead which they didn’t relinquish despite the Hotshots’ resistance in the final minutes.
The victory also improved Elasto Painters’ win-loss record to 4-2, while the Hotshots suffered their first loss in five games for a 4-1 win-loss record.
“Finally, we were able to win against Star this season. I looked for efficiency and the players delivered. Hopefully when Beau (Belga) returns, I hope our consistency is still there,” said Rain or Shine coach Caloy Garcia. “We played good defense although there were still lapses on our defense.”
Paul Lee’s lay-up even allowed Star to come within 83-88 with only 42 ticks to go, but the two charities each by Maverick Ahanmisi and Gabe Norwood in the dying seconds gave Rain or Shine some breathing space, 92-85, with only 17 seconds left in the game.
Star scored only three points in the last nine seconds but failed to overcome Rain or Shine’s lead at the final buzzer.
Import J’Nathan Bullock also posted 18 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and dished out five assists, while Norwood added 15 points and 11 rebounds to lead Rain or Shine. Raymond Almazan made 13 points and 14 rebounds, while Ahanmisi contributed 10 points also for the Elasto Painters.
Import Malcolm Hill led Star with 26 points and 20 rebounds.
From a 71-59 lead in the early part of the payoff period after Chris Tiu’s triple, the Hotshots unleashed a 13-4 run highlighted by Ian Sangalang’s basket narrowing the gap to just 72-75 with still 5:25 remaining.
But Cruz took charge in the next remaining minutes to save Rain or Shine’s winning run.
The Elasto Painters were running things effectively in the early part of second half, as they registered their biggest advantage at 52-32 behind Almazan’s basket with still 7:31 to go in the third frame.
James Yap, the two-time Most Valuable Player winner, came out scoreless against his former team for the first time since being traded for Paul Lee last year.
RAIN OR SHINE 92 – Bullock 18, Cruz 18, Norwood 15, Almazan 13, Ahanmisi 10, Matias 5, Borboran 5, Daquioag 5, Tiu 3, Ponferada 0, Yap 0, Maiquez 0, Trollano 0.
STAR 88 – Hill 26, Lee 17, Sangalang 11, Maliksi 10, Jalalon 8, Barroca 4, Ramos 4, Simon 3, Melton 3, Reavis 2, Brondial 0, Pingris 0, Dela Rosa 0.
Quarters: 15-15, 41-30, 68-56, 92-88.