The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters overcame a late rally by the GlobalPort Batang Pier to escape with a 98-96 win to open their Oppo PBA Governors’ Cup campaign on Friday at SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
High-flying JD Weatherspoon exploded for 25 points and 15 rebounds while providing numerous highlight-reel dunks for the Elasto Painters who squandered a 14-point lead against the Batang Pier.
Mav Ahanmisi also registered 17 points, four rebounds and four assists, as Raymond Almazan, who sank the game-winning free throws, tallied a double-double of 15 points and 10 boards.
The Elasto Painters led 53-39 at the start of the thid quarter but a resilient GlobalPort squad kept on fighting, with “Slash Brothers” Terrence Romeo and Stanley Pringle keeping their team afloat.
The Batang Pier managed to repeatedly close the gap even with the struggles of their import Jabril Trawick who, before fouling out, only scored three points, two rebounds and two assists.
GlobalPort finally tied the game at 96-all after Pringle converted two free throws with 1:16 remaining.
Both teams had great chances to take the lead but failed. Rain or Shine got a break after Weatherspoon was fouled in a rebound attempt.
But as athletic as he is, Weatherspoon struggled from the free throw line, only making three out of 13 attempts. Included in those misses were his free throw bricks with five seconds left that could have given his team the lead.
With GlobalPort missing big men Bradwyn Guinto and Billy Mamaril who both fouled out, the Batang Pier failed to get the rebound off Weatherspoon’s miss. Almazan instead grabbed it and, after being fouled, made two free throws that gave the lead back to Rain or Shine.
Romeo then was stifled by Rain or Shine’s defense on the other end as the buzzer sounded.
Romeo finished with 28 points, three rebounds and five assists while Pringle collected 21 points, nine boards and seven dimes for the Batang Pier.