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Cruz drops 23 to lead Rain or Shine over Blackwater to share top spot in standings

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Having broken their hot start to the new season in their last outing, the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters bounced back big-tie, playing a splendid second half en route to a 103-81 blowout over the Blackwater Elites, held at the Cuneta Astrodome on Saturday.

The Elites capitalized on six early turnovers in the opening frame, as Blackwater held a slim 11-7 advantage. Five deadlocks ensued as play went back and forth. In the last 3:22 of the first, Rain or Shine silenced their opponents by scoring the quarter’s last nine points. During the stretch, the active second unit of the Painters, led by Jericho Cruz, took charge to help dictate the match.

Despite having their best-scoring quarter with 23 points, Blackwater struggled to break the eight point barrier, as Rain or Shine answered every run. The Painters shot 6/8 from the foul line during the quarter where they also took a double-digit lead. Almond Vosotros and Art Dela Cruz contributed points, but Jeff Chan and Raymond Almazan countered to close the first half with an 8 point lead.

Carlo Lastimosa and Reil Cervantes combined for their team’s first 11 points of the second half to keep the distance respectable. However, as in the end of the opening quarter, Rain or Shine built a 14-2 closeout to the third period. Free throws by Chris Tiu and a booming triple by JR Quinahan to beat the buzzer capped the quarter.

The momentum carried over to the final period, which the Painters took 23-20. Rain or Shine built their biggest lead at the 3:07 portion, with two free throws by former Cardinal Josan Nimes. Blackwater failed to built any sort of momentum to slice the lead as their opponents cruised their way for the win.

Rain or Shine shot 47% from the field while Blackwater only shot 33%. In addition, they also out-rebounded the Elites 53-43 and had more assists, 27-18.

Jericho Cruz scored 23 points to pace the winners with 8/10 shooting. Jewel Ponferada also scored 15 markers together with three rebounds. Both players contributed off the bench. For the losing Elites, it was former San Beda Red Lion Art Dela Cruz who led the way with 15 points, while Erram added 14 points and 11 boards.

Rain or Shine (4-1) will try to get another win against the Barako Bull Energy Cola on November 27, 7pm at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. On the other hand, Blackwater (1-4) battle the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters on November 25, also at the Big Dome.

The Scores:
Rain or Shine (102) – Cruz 23, Ponferada 15, Quinahan 11, Ahanmisi 8, Almazan 8, Teng 6, Tiu 6, Matias 5, Nimes 4, Chan 3, Trollano 2, Norwood 0, Ibanes 0.
Blackwater (81) – Dela Cruz 15, Erram 14, Cervantes 9, Lastimosa 7, Gamalinda 6, Melano 6, Cortez 5, Reyes 4, Golla 4, Ballesteros 4, Vosotros 2, Agovida 2, Canada 0.
Quarterscores: 25-16, 47-39, 80-61, 103-81.

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