MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – During a time-out late in the second quarter of their game on Friday, February 6 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, Rain or Shine Elasto Painters head coach Yeng Guiao articulated a message to his boys that was short and simple: “We’re giving them too many free throws!”
The Elasto Painters sent the GlobalPort Batang Pier to the foul line 24 times in the game’s first 24 minutes, which served as the main culprit to their lead standing only at one, 54-53, at halftime.
But the third quarter was a different story.
Rain or Shine sent GlobalPort to the line only twice in the entire third period, and their defense was spotless. The Batang Pier went a measly 2-of-21 from the field and scored only 6 points in the 12-minute stretch.
The Elasto Painters put up 22 and came up with enough shots and stops down the stretch of the game to garner their second victory in three games in the 2015 PBA Commissioner’s Cup, 104-98.
“Global played a really good game today. It was difficult to put them away. They just kept coming back. At times I thought we would win with some comfort, but they just keep coming back,” Guiao said after the game.
GlobalPort trimmed Rain or Shine’s lead to 13, 76-63, thanks to a transition triple by Ronjay Buenafe early in the final quarter. Minutes later, a combined 6 points from Mark Isip and Stanley Pringle trimmed their team’s deficit to 7, 82-75.
Rain or Shine extended their lead back up 11 thanks to a couple of baskets from import Rick Jackson and Paul Lee. But their opponents battled back. Behind 8 straight points by second-year star Terrence Romeo, the Batang Pier were back within 3, 91-88, with under two minutes to go.
On the ensuing play, GlobalPort played well-enough defense that Rain or Shine was forced to take an ill-advised attempt late in the shot clock. Fortunately for the Elasto Painters, Jonathan Uyloan hit a tough 3-ball over Denok Miranda to seal the win.
“Romeo just gave us a problem on the matchups. But it’s still a win for us. It’s still a win for us. We’re just trying to string up as many wins as we can,” said Guiao.
“We’re still not a hundred percent. After three games, I feel we’re still struggling with our execution… I’m hoping that just being able to carve out wins is going to help us gain that rhythm that we’re looking for. So far it’s not yet there.”
Lee finished with 25 points and 5 rebounds and shot 5-of-9 from downtown, continuing his impressive start to the Commissioner’s Cup.
“I usually don’t start a guy three games in a row, but I’m thinking about that for the next game,” Guiao said about Lee.
“But with our system, he’s not going to start every game, and he knows that.”
Jackson finished with 16 points, 18 rebounds, and 6 assists. Jervy Cruz had 10 points and 8 rebounds, while Jeff Chan scored 9 but shot just 2-of-9 from the field.
Romeo was the best individual performer of the night, going off for 14 points in the fourth quarter en route to 29 total on 57% shooting. But after the game, his head coach Eric Gonzales and GlobalPort team manager Bonnie Tan both said that their start sophomore must build more maturity in-game moving forward.
Batang Pier import CJ Leslie finished with 29 points, 17 rebounds, and 3 assists. Despite the impressive statistics he’s put up in three games, Gonzales said that their import, along with everyone in the roster, is still in “evaluation.”
Rookie Stanley Pringle scored 16, grabbed 5 rebounds, and dished out 4 assists.
The Elasto Painters shot 45% from the field and hit 9 3-pointers. They also did a much better job sharing the ball compared to GlobalPort, winning that battle 19-12.
The Batang Pier forced 17 ROS turnovers that led to 19 points. They finished with 36 attempts from the free throw line, but converted just 25. Rain or Shine, who went to the free throw line 33 times in the second half, finished 29-of-40 from the charity stripe.
Lee nailed a pair of 3-pointers to get the game going and spearheaded Rain or Shine to a 12-4 lead at the halfway mark of the first period.
Over the next few minutes, the Elasto Painters extended their advantage up to 11 - their largest lead in the first half - 19-8.
Fortunately for the Batang Pier, Romeo heated up with a couple of baskets. His 3-ball with under a minute to go in the first cut the Elasto Painters’ lead to six, 23-17.
With momentum back on GlobalPort’s side, Rain or Shine struggled to get defensive stops and committed a number of fouls that got them into penalty situation early in the second period.
An and-one play by Keith Jensen coupled with a free throw off a Guiao technical foul gave GlobalPort their first lead of the game, 34-33. After a few minutes of back-and-forth action, four straight points by Romeo put his team up three, 47-44.
Rain or Shine countered by moving the ball on offense, yielding two open jumpers for TY Tang. After a Lee triple tied the game at 52 later on towards the end of the quarter, a technical foul on GlobalPort led to ROS entering the half with a one-point lead.
Rain or Shine will be back in action on Tuesday, February 10, when they go up against Meralco at 4:15 pm. Later that evening at 7:00 pm, GlobalPort will go head to head with Alaska.
Rain or Shine (104) - Lee 25, Jackson 16, Cruz 10, Chan 9, Belga 9, Tang 8, Uyloan 7, Norwood 7, Arana 6, Almazan 3, Tiu 2, Quinahan 2, Ibanes 0
GlobalPort (98) - Leslie 29, Romeo 29, Pringle 16, Isip 8, Buenafe 4, Ponferrada 4, Miranda 3, Jensen 3, Semerad 1, Taha 1, Caperal 0, Pinto 0, Baclao 0, De Ocampo 0
Quarter Scoring: 27-20, 53-52, 75-58, 104-98