Rain or Shine broke away in the fourth quarter to beat NLEX, 117-93, for a winning PBA On Tour debut, Friday night at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
Jewel Ponferada catalyzed the Elasto Painters’ 13-2 run toward a 94-80 lead with under seven minutes left to play, and the game would never be in doubt as Rey Nambatac and Anton Asistio took turns in dealing the finishing blows.
Nambatac and Asistio both finished with 22 points, while Ponferrada produced 10 markers and five rebounds in the successful start to the preseason.
“We’re treating this as a learning experience,” said head coach Yeng Guiao. “At the same time, gusto namin yung competitive spirit namin, ma-develop din.
“The games are important to us because we feel that this is the way for us to improve, to try new things, to experiment, and to validate our system. ‘Yun ang mindset namin going into this preseason,” he added.
Guiao fielded all 12 of his players and they scored at least two points in the win, which was also their first since parting ways with long-time big man Norbert Torres, whom they traded to Meralco for Mac Belo.
Belo, though, has yet to see action with his new team as Rain or Shine is still in discussions with the 30-year-old forward for a fresh contract.
“‘Di pa kasi nakaka-sign si Mac Belo. We’re still talking to him,” said Guiao. “We only acquired the rights to him. Wala siyang live contract. We’re in the process of negotiating his contract … by next week siguro, matatapos ‘yung usapan.”
Bong Galanza, meanwhile, had 22 points to lead the Road Warriors, who absorbed their second loss in as many games.
Kris Rosales backed him up with 16 points. Dominick Fajardo supplied 15 and five rebounds, while Clint Doliguez added 11 in the defeat.
Rain or Shine (117) – Asistio 22, Nambatac 22, Ponferada 10, Ildefonso 9, Clarito 9, Santillan 9, Borboran 8, Mamuyac 7, Belga 7, Caracut 5, Demusis 5, Norwood 4.
NLEX (93) – Galanza 22, Rosales 16, Fajardo 15, Doliguez 11, Trollano 8, Miranda 6, Pascual 6, Celda 4, Gabo 4, Rangel 1.
Quarterscores: 22-24, 48-51, 75-74, 117-93.