Rain or Shine stays hot and shuts down Air21

MANILA, Philippines - The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters continue to sizzle, winning their 6th straight game in dominant fashion over the Air21 Express, 111-90, on their way to booking a semifinal slot in the 2014 PLDT Home Telpad PBA Governors' Cup.  

Rain or Shine painted a picture of superb offense on Wednesday night, June 18, coming out firing right away and forcing the Express into a 21-4 first quarter hole. 

But the Express, led by rookie Eloy Poligrates' 16 first half points, chopped the lead down to just a 10-point 55-45 halftime deficit. 

Poligrates scored a perfect 4-of-4 from long range before eventually going cold in the second half as he finished with 18 points. 

Rain or Shine import Arizona Reid, who has been averaging 35 points in the Painters' last 6 games, set the tone early for the Painters scoring 22 of his total 30 points in the first half.  

He went 4-of-4 from beyond the arc and 5-of-5 on two-point field goals. His only misses in that stellar first half showing were a pair of freebies.  

"We were carried by our winning momentum," said Rain or Shine head coach Yeng Guiao. 

"First time we played Air21, we lost to them. We were ready to play all the way through to a hard endgame. But we were surprised also that we were able to break away."

Rain or Shine sprinted to the finish line with 28 points for each of the third and fourth frames.  

Back-to-back baskets by Larry Rodriguez (12 points) in the 7:34 mark of the third made it a 68-50 bubble as Rain or Shine went on an 18-5 spurt to start the second half.  

They never looked back since then and notched 20-point leads throughout the rest of the game.  

Air21, who was led by import Dominique Sutton's 35 points, 18 rebounds, 6 assists and two steals, never looked like they would threaten even as they managed to cut the deficit to 13 midway in the fourth on an Aldrech Ramos (16 points) triple.  

"We're getting opportunies on turnovers and transition plays just because we're playing defense," Guiao noted as his team not only shot 14 triples all game long, but also rotated the ball well and tallied 26 assists. 

For Guiao, entering the semifinals once again is an accomplishment in itself. They have been a consistent contender for the past year and has appeared in the top 4 in the last 4 conferences including this one. 

"That's our objective, to be consistent in the final 4. We're not high-profile or big-spending teams but we get into the playoffs or semis quite often and that's a big personal accomplishment and it's also an accomplishment for our organization."

Scores:

Rain or Shine 111 - Reid 30, Lee 14, Rodriguez 12, Arana 11, Norwood 9, Nuyles 7, Tiu 6, Chan 6, Belga 5, Teng 5, Ibanes 4, Uyloan 2, Cruz 0, Almazan 0.

Air21 90 - Sutton 35, Poligrates 18, Ramos 16, Taulava 11, Anthony 5, Yeo 3, Cardona 2, Borboran 0, Villanueva J. 0, Burtscher 0, Menor 0, Camson 0, Atkins 0. 

Quarter scores: 30-21, 55-45, 83-64, 111-90. 

- Rappler.com