Finally, a breakthrough win for Rain or Shine.
The team played with a sense of urgency as it routed Air 21, 113-83, in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup elimination round at the Cuneta Astrodome on Friday night.
There were a lot of firsts for Rain or Shine’s victory over Air 21, a win that somehow kept the Elasto Painters’ hopes of making it past the eliminations alive.
The win was the first for the Elasto Painters in the Philippines this conference after splitting their two-game Dubai schedule last month. The team notched its second win in seven matches, moving them a game behind ninth-place Barako Bull and a game behind Meralco and Petron, which are tied in seventh to eighth places.
“For the first time in a long while, our locals stepped up and for the first time in a long time, nag-click yung outside shooting naming. We’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time,” said Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao.
Six Rain or Shine players finished with nine points or more.
Import Duke Crews led the way with 20 points and 12 rebounds, but got much-needed minutes of relief to rest his injured hand.
“Hindi nga maganda ang ensayo namin and in fact, Duke wasn’t able to join our last two practices because of a swollen hand,” said Guiao.
With the locals stepping up, Guiao had the luxury of resting his do-it-all undersized import for long minutes.
Without Crews on the floor in the last four minutes of the third period, the Elasto Painters were able to establish a 78-56 lead on a lay up by Ronjay Buenafe.
When Crews returned, the Elasto Painters were able to put the game away, holding the Express without a field for six minutes in the fourth and unloading a telling 18-1 bomb for their biggest lead of the game, 104-71, with 3:19 left in the match.
“We played a lot better, especially on defense. We’ve not played this way defensively all conference long. I hope this win will spark us a little bit. I know it’s late, but we hope we win our games, keep on building our character. We’re a young team and inconsistent and not tough yet mentally. Kailangang lutuin pa,” said Guiao.
“We’re not losing any hope. We still want to win our next two games and hopefully get a chance to snatch a seat in the next round,” he added.
Rain or Shine (113) – Crews 20, Buenafe 19, Lee 13, Chan 13, Cruz 10, Norwood 9, Matias 7, Arana 6, Quinahan 5, Tang 3, Uyloan 2, Jaime 2, Belga 2, Ibanes 2.
Air 21 (83) – Douthit 23, Ritualo 12, Omolon 11, Escobal 9, Duncil 8, Mirza 6, Sena 4, Faundo 4, Isip 4, Hubalde 2, Sison 0, Jazul 0, Aquino 0.
Quarterscores: 28-16; 57-34; 78-60; 113-83