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Huge second half propels Rain or Shine versus Alaska



Entering the tail-end of the eliminations, the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters grabbed a crucial win against the Alaska Aces to retain their automatic semis berth hopes, with a 111-105 win held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Friday evening.

Rain or Shine jumped out to an early 11-2 lead as they crashed the early boards against the Aces, who struggled with their attempts early on. However, as Alaska paraded its second unit on the floor, pace shifted in their favor as a the offensive load was initiated by Vic Manuel. By the final part of the opening frame, the Aces successfully clawed their way back and even ended the period on top by four.

In less than four minutes into the second quarter, Alaska entered the penalty situation that led to 13 free throw attempts by the Painters. However, the Aces shattered the 42-all deadlock with a 12-2 run in the middle of the quarter, as Cyrus Baguio and Dondon Hontiveros each drained a three to create distance against RoS. Three turnovers by the Painters in the late moments of the first half haunted their comeback hopes as Alaska ended the first 24 minutes of action up by eight.

Alaska threatened to pull away in the third period, as they led by as much as 14 at one point. Early miscues by Rain or Shine slowed their scoring tempo, while the Aces transition game was in full display. Fortunately for the Elasto Painters in the final four minutes of the quarter, their offense started to click as four free throws by Almazan and Chan ignited the run. Gabe Norwood flushed down a dunk, which sliced the lead down to single digits that ultimately led to a tied ball game after three quarters.

Back-and-forth action was displayed in the fourth period as the two teams had five deadlocks in the first nine minutes of the final frame. Looking to break away from the tug-of-war affair, Rain or Shine accumulated six straight points from Norwood, Belga and Ponferada to make it a 104-98 affair with 2:10 left in regulation. The mini spurt was sufficient enough to hold off the Aces, as the team would only make a lone three out of their final five attempts, insufficient to overhaul Rain or Shine’s lead.

Balanced scoring for the Elasto Painters yielded seven players scoring double-figures. Beau Belga led the parade with 17 points, eight rebounds, on 6-of-9 shooting from the field. Raymond Almazan and Jericho Cruz added 13 apiece for Rain or Shine. The team outscored the Aces from the paint, 50-34 and had five more rebounds at the end of the match, 47-42. For Alaska, who snapped their four game win streak, Vic Manuel finished with 24 points, nine rebounds and two assists. Cyrus Baguio chipped in 14 in the losing effort.

Rain or Shine will next face the Meralco Bolts. On the other hand, Alaska will lock horns against the San Miguel Beermen. Both games will be played at 4:15 and 7pm on Wednesday, December 16 also at the Big Dome. The two teams now hold a 7-2 record.

The Scores:
Rain or Shine (111) – Belga 17, Cruz 13, Almazan 13, Chan 12, Quinahan 12, Norwood 11, Ponferada 8, Ahanmisi 7, Tiu 4, Nimes 2.
Alaska (106) – Manuel 24, Baguio 14, Menk 9, Hontiveros 9, Jazul 8, Dela Cruz 8, Casio 7, Thoss 6, Dela Rosa 2, Baclao 2.
Quarterscores: 28-32, 56-64, 81-81, 111-105.

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