With their stinging loss to the Kia Picanto a week ago still fresh in their minds, the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters vented their frustrations on the skidding NLEX Road Warriors, 97-86, Friday evening at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
The Elasto Painters improved to 3-3, while the Road Warriors absorbed their fourth straight loss and dropped to 2-4. Moreover, NLEX have fallen to the 11th spot in the team standings, making them the second-worst team in the league.
“I wish we could have played like this last game, but ganun talaga basketball. I told the players the only way we can forget the game against Kia is basically to win this game,” said Rain or Shine head coach Caloy Garcia. “I felt disappointed on how we performed in that game [so] I told them everybody who gets inside the court has to put that energy.”
His wards responded accordingly, as Rain or Shine deployed a well-balanced attack in the win. Maverick Ahanmisi led the pack with a conference-high 20 points spiked by five triples, alongside eight rebounds and three assists.
The Elasto Painters saw their juices flowing in the second frame, but it was in the third canto that they pulled away wide and led by as much as 21, 59-38, after Ed Daquioag’s shots from the stripe with 10:02 on the clock.
But the Road Warriors did their best to fight back. Thanks mostly to Juami Tiongson and JR Quiñahan, they were able to cut down the huge deficit and knock within just 10, 69-79, with 8:37 remaining in the final frame.
Rain or Shine responded on the other end to prevent their counterparts from closing nearer, unloading 10 straight points — ended by Beau Belga’s lay-up — to reestablish their 20-point cushion, 89-69, with 5:29 in the game.
NLEX tried one last comeback through a 13-4 spurt to come within 11, 93-82, but Don Trollano’s putback, and Jewel Ponferrada’s lay-up off a pick-and-roll set that made it 97-84, were more than enough for Rain or Shine to seal the win.
“Against Kia, kahit anong balasa ko, I think we were too overconfident against that team.But today, I hope that we can be consistent in playing this way,” added Garcia on the victory.
Gabe Norwood nearly had a double-double for the E-Painters with 13 points and nine rebounds, along with three steals. James Yap scored 12, while Chris Tiu displayed an all-around effort with 11 points, five boards, and four dimes.
Mallari paced the Road Warriors, who have yet to taste a win since December 25, 2017, with 17 points, nine rebounds, and four assists. Kiefer Ravena was his lone support with 14 points on 12 shots with two caroms and three feeds.
The Elasto Painters played without center Raymond Almazan, who is serving his suspension following his fistfight with Kia’s Eric Camson last Saturday.
Rain or Shine will look to sustain momentum against the Meralco Bolts next Friday, February 2, 7:00 PM at Mall of Asia Arena, while NLEX will aim to end their skid versus the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel on February 3, Saturday, 5:00 PM at Cuneta Astrodome.
Rain or Shine 97 – Ahanmisi 20, Norwood 13, Yap 12, Tiu 11, Borboran 9, Daquioag 7, Maiquez 6, Nambatac 6, Belga 6, Cruz 3, Ponferada 2, Trollano 2.
NLEX 86 – Quinahan 22, Mallari 17, Ravena 14, Baguio 9, Tiongson 6, Alas 6, Gotladera 4, Fonacier 3, Uyloan 3, Soyud 2, Monfort 0, Rios 0, Taulava 0.
Quarterscores: 25-20, 53-38, 73-62, 97-86.