The Rain or Shine and Purefoods franchises go way back with numerous playoff rivalries in the past seasons, but it was the Elasto Painters who snatched a crucial victory, 83-74, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum as the end of the elimination round nears. A fourth quarter end-game blast by Rain or Shine strengthened its hold on the third spot at 7-2, which kept the Elasto Painters in contention for an automatic semifinals seat.
Guard trio fill in for four
Battling without Jervy Cruz, Jeric Teng, Chris Tiu, and Gilas skipper Jeff Chan, other players of Coach Yeng Guiao filled in the void as guard trio of TY Tang, Paul Lee, and Jonathan Uyloan combined for a total of 28 points in the game.
Tang even suffered a huge fall off a rebound battle with PJ Simon in the 9:22 mark of the final quarter. Sitting out after the career-threatening fall, Tang returned with more than three minutes remaining and immediately made an impact by scoring a put back off his own miss to give Rain or Shine a 77-72 lead after a huge 7-3 run by Purefoods.
Lee, who scattered a total of 18 points, was blocked by Marc Pingris in a fast break attempt. Quickly recovering from the block, Lee found a wide open Uyloan for a three-pointer which proved to be the marginal basket to seal the win as the lead ballooned to eight once more with just over a minute remaining.
Gabe Norwood scored a three-point play for the final basket of the match as Uyloan completed a steal to take everything away from the Hotshots who suffered an 8-2 surge from the Elasto Painters as time expired.
Battle of runs
No team really took over in the first three quarters as each run was answered by another. It was a slim 17-16 lead in favor of the Star Hotshots at the end of the first canto which also saw Rain or Shine lead by four via a 5-0 run.
After being tied at 26, the Elasto Painters stepped on the gas as they launched a 10-4 rally to take a six-point advantage that they maintained until the end of the half via a buzzer-beating put back by Raymund Almazan. In the third period, Rain or Shine led by as much as nine before finishing with another put back courtesy of Norwood for another six-point advantage, 60-54.
Starting out strong in the payoff period, the lead reached as much as 14 for Rain or Shine as the Hotshots tried to fight back but could not get closer than three points in the final quarter.
With both teams riding a four-game streak, Purefoods dropped its fourth game in nine outings as Rain or Shine matched San Miguel’s current win streak at five. The Hotshots will still face Talk N’ Text on December 3 and Barako Bull on the 6th. Meanwhile, Rain or Shine still has Alaska and Ginebra on their list on December 5 and 7, respectively.