Fearsome guard Jericho Cruz and the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters outplayed the Phoenix Petroleum Fuel Masters, 97-82, on Sunday for its fifth victory in the Philippine Basketball Association Season 42 Philippine Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.
Cruz sizzled with 21 points on 5-of-9 shooting beyond the three-point zone to go along with eight rebounds and two assists, while Jeff Chan added 12 points and veteran James Yap had 10 points to lead the Elasto Painters to a 5-2 win-loss record.
“I told the players that we have to start the year with a win,” said Rain or Shine coach Caloy Garcia during the post game press conference. “Credit goes to the players. When we have the lead, the players stopped attacking but we still managed to secure the win.”
“Gabe (Norwood) has a sore eyes and Raymond Almazan is still nursing with a calf injury.”
The Elasto Painters, relying heavily on their early three-point shooting, unloaded a blitzing 11-0 blast capped by the three-pointers of rookie Mike Tolomia, Cruz and big man Jewel Ponferada to establish a 30-20 cushion after the first period.
Combo guard Maverick Ahanmisi and Washington contributed huge in the later part of second frame, combining for Rain or Shine’s 10-0 run to keep a double-digit lead. Ahanmisi’s back-to-back treys and Chris Tiu’s triple handed the Elasto Painters a 53-45 cushion at the halftime break.
Phoenix Petroleum remained struggling in the offensive end as Rain or Shine imposed a tough defensive job, keeping them scoreless in the first six minutes of the second half. The Elasto Painters outscored the Fuel Masters overall in the third period, 25-16.
Forward Ronnie Matias sparkled Rain or Shine’s 13-2 run by scoring eight points in the third period and providing them a 78-61 lead at the start of fourth period. Rain or Shine maintained its composure in the last quarter, disallowing Phoenix to make another comeback.
Rain or Shine dropped 16 three-pointers against Phoenix.
The Fuel Masters only made five three-pointers. The Elasto Painters also had 22 assists against 17 of their opponent.
Rookie Matthew Wright posted 26 points and 12 rebounds to lead Phoenix. But the Fuel Masters fell to 4-4 win-loss record.
Meanwhile, the league slapped a P20, 000 fine to Meralco player Cliff Hodge for committing a flagrant foul penalty 2 violation last December 28 against San Miguel Beer’s guard Alex Cabagnot. It was a flagrant foul penalty 1 but was later upgraded by the technical committee upon review.
Meralco’s rookie Ed Daquioag was also fined P10, 000 for his second flagrant penalty one violation also in the same game.