by Waylon Galvez
Rain or Shine held on behind a brilliant defensive effort to finally beat Star, 92-88, and extend its win streak to three games in the season-ending PBA Governors’ Cup last night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Energized by the return of Gilas members Raymond Almazan and Gabe Norwood from the FIBA Asia Cup stint in Lebanon, the Painters threw the Hotshots out of their comfort zone through their pressure defense.
By limiting the Hotshots to a measly 38 percent shooting from field – they made only 34 of 90 tries – their 88-point output was their lowest so far this conference. They normed 102 points per game in their first four games.
The win was ROS’ first against Star since its shipped star guard Paul Lee to the latter.
“Finally we’re able to beat Star this season. Kala ko hindi kami manalo,” said ROS mentor Caloy Garcia, whose team missed the services of veteran center Beau Belga, out serving a one-game suspension when he was ejected from the game two weeks ago against Kia.
Third year guard Jericho Cruz finished with 18 points, 10 of which came in the fourth quarter, while import J’Nathan Bullock also scored 18, had 11 rebounds, five assists and two blocks for ROS.
Norwood collected 15 points and 11 bounds, while Almazan had 13 and 14 rebounds despite playing with flu symptoms. The 6-foot-7 Almazan was later brought to the Cardinal Santos Hospital due to dehydration.
Rain or Shine unleashed a key second quarter attack where it outscored its opponent, 26-15, that turned a 15-all first quarter to 41-30 advantage at halftime break. Bullock scored seven points while Mav Ahanmisi and Ronnie Matias combined for 10 points.
RAIN OR SHINE 92 – Bullock 18, Cruz 18, Norwood 15, Almazan 13, Ahanmisi 10, Matias 5, Borboran 5, Daquioag 5, Tiu 3, Ponferada 0, Yap 0, Maiquez 0, Trollano 0.
STAR 88 – Hill 26, Lee 17, Sangalang 11, Maliksi 10, Jalalon 8, Barroca 4, Ramos 4, Simon 3, Melton 3, Reavis 2, Brondial 0, Pingris 0, Dela Rosa 0.
Quarters: 15-15, 41-30, 68-56, 92-88.
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