ROS escapes Mahindra in OT, paints second win

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Rain or Shine’s Raymond Almazan (No. 20) tries to avoid the defense of Mahindra’s James White during the Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup at the Araneta Coliseum. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Defending champion Rain or Shine banked on experience in crunch time to post a thrilling 99-95 overtime win over Mahindra on Sunday for back-to-back triumphs in the Philippine Basketball Association Season 42 Commissioner’s Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.

Import Shawn Taggart tallied 29 points on 10-of-18 shooting from the field plus 10 rebounds and two blocks, while power forward Beau Belga and two-time Most Valuable Player James Yap finished with 12 points each to give Rain or Shine a 2-0 win-loss record.

“It was a good game both teams don’t want to lose today,” said Rain or Shine coach Caloy Garcia, who celebrated his 42nd birthday. “We came out today too relaxed basically we have to look at that.”

Jeff Chan, who posted 10 points, hit a crucial trey to hand Rain or Shine a 97-93 lead with 1:44 left in the extension period. The Elasto Painters didn’t relinquish the lead after Taggart’s basket with 1:12 left that earned them a 99-95 lead.

James White led Mahindra with 29 points and 21 rebounds plus two blocks but failed to lead his team to victory. The Floodbuster, who lost to the Meralco Bolts in first game, fell to 0-2 win-loss record.

Mahindra took a 27-22 cushion when Reden Celda hit a three-pointer in the early part of second quarter but Rain or Shine quickly erased the deficit as both teams exchanged lead throughout the second frame. Taggart’s dunk with 15 seconds left in the second period provided Rain or Shine a 45-43 lead at the half.

The former GlobalPort import, Taggart, notched 17 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field plus 7-of-9 from the foul line in the first two periods to lead the Elasto Painters at the half. White, on the other hand, scored 13 points and grabbed nine rebounds in the first half.

The Elasto Painters and the Floodbuster maintained a close game in the third quarter with guard Chris Tiu and Jason Deutchman trading triples before the end of third period resulting in Rain or Shine’s advantage, 68-66, at the start of the payoff canto.

Yap’s jumper handed the Elasto Painters a 73-66 cushion in the early part of the last period, but the veteran scorer Gary David took charge during crunch time by leading Mahindra with a telling 20-6 run highlighted by a three-pointer that gave them an 86-80 lead with 2:34 left in the game.

But Rain or Shine countered with an 8-2 run capped by Taggart’s split free throw with only 32 ticks left remaining to tie the count to 88-all. A block by White on Chan gave the Floodbuster another chance to seal the win after they secured the rebound.

But White’s game-winning jumper at the buzzer just hit the rim that forced the overtime.

Taggart, Raymond Almazan and Chan provided Rain or Shine with a strong finishing kick in the extension period to seal its second victory after routing Northern Luzon Expressway (113-103) in the opening game last Friday.

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