There’s no denying that Rain or Shine’s rocky start into the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup is due to its import woes.
The Elasto Painters first tried things out with Joel Wright, but the former Star Hotshots reinforcement only helped them win one game in three assignments. That then prompted the team to replace him with Kayel Locke.
However, their time with Locke was also unfruitful. Rain or Shine lost three straight games, so it decided to move on from him and brought in a former NLEX Road Warriors import — the high-flying, and dreadlocks-wearing Kwame Alexander.
Alexander showed promise, helping the Elasto Painters snap their skid. Unfortunately, he hurt his ankle in both of their games, and that made the team switch imports for the third time in this season-ending conference by having Rich Ross.
Ross’ first game versus NLEX last October 30 ended up in a loss that sent Rain or Shine’s playoff hopes bleak, but he rebounded as he helped his sude stun the Grand Slam-seeking San Miguel Beer last November 9 in Cebu.
And on Sunday, against Meralco, Ross showed once more why he is the perfect import for the Elasto Painters.
The 6-foot-5 American led the way for his side, producing 26 points, 12 rebounds, and two blocks. He led Rain or Shine’s 83-81, come-from-behind victory that gave their flickering playoff chances a huge shot in the arm.
“I definitely think I fit well on the team,” Ross said. “From the moment I got here, I felt like I’ve been here forever. It’s easy to play with these guys, it’s easy to kick it with these guys, it’s easy to be around with these guys. Good group of guys.”
“We were able to beat the two strong teams, and that’s a testament to the hard work of the locals. And probably having Rich with the team changed a lot of things,” said coach Caloy Garcia.
“Sayang. Sana maaga siya dumating.”
Ross is definitely a big factor in RoS’ turnaround. So now, he hopes for the best for their quarterfinal chances — the Elasto Painters need NorthPort Batang Pier to lose versus Ginebra for at least a shot for the playoff for eight.
“So now we just wait and see what happens.”