MANILA, Philippines — RR Garcia erupted for a career-high 26 points and the Barako Bull Energy bounced back from a brief setback with a 112-103 victory over the slumping Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in the 2015 PBA Governors' Cup on Sunday, May 31 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Energy recovered from its first defeat of the conference, 116-113, at the hands of the surging San Miguel Beermen last Wednesday and rose to 5-1 in the standings for a franchise-best conference start.
"I'd like to give it to the players. They showed they have character," said head coach Koy Banal.
Third year guard Garcia, who shot 4-of-7 from long range, poured 17 of his points in the second half as Barako Bull wrested control of the game from a threatening Rain or Shine.
After Paul Lee knocked down a triple to bring the Painters to within 102-95, Garcia stretched the Energy's lead with a deep trey of his own that made it 107-95 with 3:23 left.
Chris Tiu closed that gap as he zigzagged his way to the hoop, 109-103, with 56.9 ticks remaining but Barako Bull's defense held up in the ensuing play as they retained possession and sent Joseph Yeo to the line to ice the game, 110-103, with 22.3 to go.
"I told my team, the only way to beat Rain or Shine is to play the game the right way," Banal said.
Import Liam McMorrow scored 32 points and grabbed 25 rebounds to lead Barako Bull. He shot a near-perfect 11-of-12 from the field and went 10-of-16 on his free throws as he kept the Energy afloat late with 10 points in the fourth.
Yeo had 19 points and 6 assists while Dylan Ababou chipped in 10 points and 5 rebounds as the Energy continue to surge in the season-ending conference.
"It won't do us any good if we will remain here," Banal warned of complacency with their strong start. "We have to finish the job."
Rain or Shine rode on import Wendell McKines' 41 points and 17 rebounds as Lee was the only significant back-up with 21 points on 4-of-9 three-pointers.
Lee willed the Painters back into the game with his 10 points after the Energy built an 89-75 lead in the fourth but it was not enough to save his team from a lowly 1-4 slate.
It is the worst start to a conference for head coach Yeng Guiao with Rain or Shine.
BARAKO (112): McMorrow 32, Garcia 26, Yeo 19, Ababou 10, Lastimosa 8, Chua 7, Pascual 6, Lanete 2, Wilson 2, Intal 0, Hubalde 0, Maierhofer 0.
RAIN OR SHINE (103): McKines 41, Lee 21, Tiu 7, Uyloan 6, Norwood 6, Almazan 6, Cruz Jericho 5, Arana 3, Ibanes 2, Chan 2, Belga 2, Quinahan 2, Tang 0, Cruz Jervy 0.
Quarter scores: 18-27, 52-48, 80-73, 112-103.