In a game that saw numerous fists and elbows fly and a couple of verbal exchanges, the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters solidified their hold of the top spot as they downed the GlobalPort Batang Pier, 96-90, Sunday evening at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
The Elasto Painters have improved to 5-1, while the Batang Pier — who were coming off a huge 114-96 victory over the NLEX Road Warriors last Wednesday at the same venue — dropped to an even 3-3 slate.
“It’s good that we’re number one right now but it’s a long way to go, it’s just halfway through the season,” said Rain or Shine head coach Caloy Garcia. “We hope to come back and be better. Siguro execution namin, offense and defense.”
Reggie Johnson led the Elasto Painters with 18 points, 16 rebounds, and seven assists. James Yap produced 14 points, and Maverick Ahanmisi made 13 markers and six boards. Raymond Almazan chipped in 12 and eight caroms.
The match was already intense, as a see-saw battle ensued right from the start, but things went even further in the payoff period. It all started when Chris Tiu got hit by Malcolm White prior to his game-tying shot, 74-all, with 6:50 left.
No fouls were called on the Batang Pier import even if Tiu spewed blood on the floor.
The Elasto Painters were able to establish a 84-78 cushion with 4:10 to go. But another fracas took place just 50 seconds later, as Sean Anthony and Beau Belga’s chase for the loose ball became a near free-for-all.
Kelly Nabong and Ahanmisi were both ejected from the game after that, as they nearly exchanged blows. Technical fouls were also slapped on players Ryan Araña and Jay Washington.
Rain or Shine did not let those distractions get the best of them. Tiu — even with a swollen cheek — and Gabe Norwood dealt the biggest if blows in the match, as their buckets gave Rain or Shine the lead for good, 92-83, with 1:14 left.
But just when everybody thought that the players had settled down, another end-game spat took place with 40.3 ticks left between Almazan and White, as the former pushed the latter under the rim.
Almazan was whistled for a flagrant foul penalty one, while White left the match with less than 20 seconds left as he earned his sixth foul.
“Another hard-earned victory for us. At least hindi nila tinanggal yung focus nila after that scuffle,” lauded Garcia.
White led the Batang Pier with 21 points and eight rebounds. Stanley Pringle had 15 markers, six boards, and three dimes, while Anthony pumped 14 points and 14 rebounds. Nabong had 13 points.
Both teams will play on June 2, Saturday, still at the SMART Araneta Coliseum. GlobalPort will raise the curtains at 4:30 PM versus the Alaska Aces, and Rain or Shine will face the Magnolia Hotshots at the 7:00 PM main-eventer.
Rain or Shine 96 – Johnson 18, Yap 14, Ahanmisi 13, Almazan 12, Tiu 10, Ponferada 9, Daquioag 7, Belga 6, Norwood 5, Torres 2, Nambatac 0.
Globalport 90 – White 21, Pringle 15, Anthony 14, Nabong 13, Tautuaa 8, Elorde 8, Grey 4, Javelona 3, Sargent 2, Guinto 2, Araña 0, Teng 0.
Quarterscores: 26-30, 45-45, 67-62, 96-90.