MANILA – Rain or Shine rallied in the fourth quarter to beat Alaska, 98-95, on Friday night and solidify the Elasto Painters’ bid for outright semifinals slot in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Trailing by six points, 67-73, going into the final quarter, the Elasto Painters leaned on playmaker Paul Lee, Beau Belga and rookie Jericho Cruz to take their eight win in 10 games to move to solo second place behind front running San Miguel Beer (8-1).
On the other hand, the Aces skidded to third spot with their second straight and third overall loss in 11 assignments.
”We just tried to stay tough all throughout. We were playing a catch-up game in the endgame. Alaska is a new team now. They’re tough,” Rain or Shine headcoach Yeng Guiao said.
Guiao said the win “is a good jump off” to Sunday’s game against crowd-favorite Barangay Ginebra.
”Jump off for a greater motivation to win on Sunday,” Guiao said.
If the Elasto Painters win their last elimination assignment, they will automatically earn semifinals slot.
Lee came out with double-double performance after scoring 19 points and grabbing 10 rebounds while Cruz and Belga added 16 markers each and Gabe Norwood with 12 for Rain or Shine.
Calvin Abueva topscored with 18 points and Eric Menk and Cyrus Baguio and Jayvee Casio got 12 markers each for the Aces.
RAIN OR SHINE 98 – Lee 19, Cruz Jericho 16, Belga 16, Norwood 12, Chan 8, Quinahan 8, Tiu 5, Almazan 5, Uyloan 3, Tang 3, Arana 2, Ibanes 1, Cruz Jervy 0.
ALASKA 95 – Abueva 18, Menk 16, Baguio 12, Casio 12, Manuel 11, Thoss 8, Hontiveros 6, Dela Cruz 4, Exciminiano 3, Jazul 3, Banchero 2, Eman 0, Dela Rosa 0, Bugia 0.
Quarterscores: 18-23, 42-45, 67-73, 98-95.