In a battle of two teams that had loaned at least two players to Gilas Pilipinas, it was the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters that started on a furious pace, leaving the TNT Katropa in the dust, 105-73, Sunday evening at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
Rain or Shine raised their slate to 3-2, while TNT dropped to an even 2-2 record.
The Elasto Painters were without Gabe Norwood and Raymond Almazan for the game, as they were in Beirut, Lebanon together with Katropa Roger Pogoy and Jayson Castro. But TNT were also without Troy Rosario, as he was loaned to the SEA Games team in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Still, Rain or Shine still needed to impress after a luckluster showing against the Kia Picanto last August 13.
“Everybody seemed to be on the same page today and that’s why we played well today,” said first-year Rain or Shine head coach Caloy Garcia.
Five Elasto Painters scored in double-figures.
J’Nathan Bullock scored a game-high 19 points to go along with 14 rebounds in 34 minutes of action. The American kept TNT at bay during the third frame. But it was Jericho Cruz who provided the finish, scoring eight of his 14 points in the final frame.
Jewel Ponferada and Mark Borboran added 12 and 11 points respectively, with the former grabbing eight rebounds as well. James Yap added 10 points off the bench.
“Basically, everybody stepped up in today’s game,” Garcia furthered.
After limiting TNT to a horrid 14 points in the opening frame, Rain or Shine did not let up, gaining a 21-point lead, 42-21, by the midway point of the second quarter.
Though debuting TNT import Glen Rice, Jr. tried to keep TNT in the game come the third frame, Rain or Shine proved to be too much, leading by as much as 33 points, 99-66, in the waning moments of the game.
Beau Belga also stepped up by grabbing 10 rebounds. The burly forward was supposed to be suspended for the game after being ejected during the third quarter of Rain or Shine’s game against Kia. But the suspension was moved to their game against Star, as PBA Commissioner Chito Narvasa deemed that ROS needed all the bodies for this game.
Rice finished with 19 points but needed 22 attempts to do so. He had eight rebounds and four steals as well. Ranidel de Ocampo finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds, while Levi Hernandez finished with a career-high 11 points.
Rain or Shine will have a tough fifth assignment as they take on the Star Hotshots on Sunday, August 27, at 4:30pm. TNT, on the other hand, hope to have Castro and Pogoy back by Friday, August 25, when they face the Phoenix Fuel Masters at 4:15pm. Both games will be played at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
Rain or Shine 105 – Bullock 20, Cruz 14, Ponferada 12, Borboran 11, Yap 10, Ahanmisi 9, Trollano 7, Tiu 6, Belga 5, Robles 4, King 3, Matias 2, Daquioag 2, Maiquez 0.
TNT 73 – Rice Jr. 19, De Ocampo 11, Hernandez 11, Williams 8, Lingganay 6, Tautuaa 5, Garcia 4, Reyes 3, Nuyles 3, Tamsi 2, Carey 1, Golla 0.
Quarterscores: 30-14, 49-32, 77-58, 105-73.