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Rain or Shine squeezes past Kia in thriller for fifth straight win

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The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters late elimination round run continued as they notch their fifth straight win in the Governor’s Cup with a 94-90 escape against the Kia Carnival held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday.

A physical start to the match between the two teams ensued in the first quarter as the defensive intensity was evident lately. This led to a slow start offensively with both teams combining for only seven points in the first four minutes. For seven minutes, Rain or Shine was limited by Kia for only three points, all coming from the free throw stripe while the latter led by six at at that point. Hamade N’Diaye got into foul trouble early as his squad struggled to find the mark in the dying minutes of the quarter as the only made one of their last nine attempts. Good thing for them, ROS did not do any better from the field as they only finished 12 points at the end of 12 minutes.

With two straight triples missed to start the second quarter for Kia, Rain or Shine went to a fast 8-0 response to grab the lead including triples from JR Quiñahan and Chris Tiu. After Kia called for a ceasefire, the game slowed down with the fouls committed by the two teams. Kia got a share of the lead once again with N’Diaye anchoring the boards and Alex Nuyles providing four points off the bench. Afterwards, the teams exchanged for baskets and found themselves knotted at 40 with ROS holding the final possession. As the first half went to a close, Jericho Cruz knocked down a big triple with a second to go, which gave his team the lift heading into the break.

Carrying the momentum from the second quarter, Rain or Shine went on a tear to start the third quarter and even lead by 13 at one point at 59-46 cemented by a Jireh Ibañes trifecta. But in just four minutes, Kia built a 18-4 rampage including three triples from the stretch and forcing ROS to multiple turnovers. In the dying seconds, Gabe Norwood made his lone shot from three-point territory to give his team the lead heading into the last canto.

Nuyles opened up the fourth with a basket, but was answered quickly by the Elasto Painters with their 7-1 response. This paved way to help the Painters cruise to their biggest lead at 75-67. N’Diaye then powered his way down low to lead his team’s comeback efforts against ROS. With the Carnival reinforcement also becoming a rim protector against the Painters’ slashers, his dunk shot made it an 80-79 game halfway through the fourth.

Minutes later, the exchange of free throws and defensive stops showed an 85-82 game still in favor of ROS with three minutes to go in the match. However, Kia settled for rushed three pointers that did not find the bottom of the rim. Meanwhile, Paul Lee was flawless from the foul stripe as he made the necessary hits from the 15-foot line to keep their opponents at bay. Lee made eight free throws in the last two minutes, while also scoring his team’s last points.

Rain or Shine kept on climbing up the standings and are now holding a 6-4 record. Kia drops to 4-5.

ROS was plus 15 from downtown as they shot a better clip from beyond the arc, 39% against Kia’s 22%. McKines led his squad with 24 points, 20 rebounds and four assists. Lee chipped in 20 and scored a perfect 10 from the foul stripe. N’Diaye talled 31 markers together with his 21 boards and eight rejections.

Kia’s next opponent will be the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters on Friday while Rain or Shine battles the Star Hotshots on Saturday. Both games will be played at the Big Dome.

The Scores:

Rain or Shine(94) – McKines 24, Lee 20, Uyloan 8, Cruz 8, Ibañes 7, Belga 7, Almazan 6, Quiñahan 5, Tiu 3, Norwood 3, Cruz 2, Tang 0, Teng 0

Kia(90) – N’Diaye 31, Dehesa 19, Buensuceso 7, Bagatsing 6, Chang 6, Yee 6, Nuyles 6, Revilla 4, Avenido 3, Alvarez 2, Webb 0, Pascual 0

Quarters: 12-15, 43-40, 68-66, 94-90

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