Rain or Shine halts TNT's streak

Elasto Painters top elims with 8-1 mark

GAME TUESDAY
(Smart-Araneta Coliseum)
6:30 p.m. – Barako Bull vs. Powerade
(Winner to face Meralco for the sixth and final spot on Wednesday)
 
 
 
Rain or Shine, though the youngest squad in the PBA's 10-team field, has been steadily proving its readiness to perform on a bigger stage.

Proof of  that was its 92-90 nail-biting victory over rampaging Talk ‘N Text Sunday night, with the Elasto Painters flashing steely nerves down the stretch to enter the semifinals brimming with confidence in the PBA Governors Cup at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

Import Jamelle Cornley paced Rain or Shine with 19 points and four assists including a game-clinching block over Talk ‘N Text forward Ranidel de Ocampo that enabled the E-Painters to notch their eighth win against a lone defeat, the best start for the Asian Coatings Philippines franchise since joining the league in 2008. 

Paul Lee contributed 18 markers, seven coming in the fourth, while Jeff Chan added 14 for the pace-setting Elasto Painters, who only need to win at least two more games in the carry-over, six-team semifinal format to barge into their first-ever finals stint.

“I think this team is for real,” stressed Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao. “Kung ang tingin ng iba na bata pa ‘to, tingin ko, hinog na hinog na ngayon. They showed their mental and physical toughness. You have tio put you’re class-A game to beat a class-A team like Talk ‘N Text.

“Nakakatuwa na lumalaban talaga ang isang batang koponan sa isang beteranong team. This win is a testament to the players’ maturity and hardwork they put in practice. These guys are working hard every practice. The win really goes a long way in boosting our confiedence,” added Guiao.

Lightning-quick Jason Castro fired nine of his game-high 25 points while Paul Harris and Ryan Reyes tallied 10 apiece but the Tropang Texters still came up short, absorbing their first loss in the last five games and fourth overall against five wins, good for third spot behind B-Meg (6-3).

After Chan’s unmolested lay-up gave Rain or Shine a 78-70 lead with a little over eight minutes left, Talk ‘N Text leaned on the exploits of Harris and Kelly Williams before Castro clustered seven straight points in a scorching 15-7 run that forged an 85-allddeadlock with 2:03 left.

Cornley kept Rain or Shine’s head above water, scoring the Painters’ six of the last seven points, capped by a daring lay-up against Harris and Peek that pushed them at 91-87, time down to just 14.7 seconds.

Larry Fonacier, who finished with ten markers along with Williams, buried a trey with 3.8 seconds left before Chan split his charities for that kept the door ajar for the Texters with 3.1 seconds to go.

Off a timeout, Harris threw a perfect lob to de Ocampo who got quickly swarmed by three Elasto Painters with Cornley swatting the ball away as time expired.

“It’s a matter of making the championship plays,” noted Cornley. “I just went up and try to find the ball. It’s big for us to make that play happen.”

Earlier, Barako Bull kept its flickering semis hopes alive by escaping past 81-79 to gain their fourth win against five defeats, forcing a triple-tie for the sixth and final spot.

LeRoy Hickerson rammed in 32 points while Danny Seigle had 16 markers for the Energy, who finished second in the quotient system with 1.03 behind Meralco (1.06) and ahead of Powerade (0.90).

As a result, the Energy and the Tigers tangle in a do-or-die game on Tuesday, with the winner facing the Bolts the next day.
 
 
The scores:
 
First Game
 
BARAKO BULL 81 – Hickerson 22, Seigle 16, Tubid 10, Kramer 8, Miller 7, Allado 7, Cruz 6, Salvacion 3, Najorda 2, Pennisi 0.
 
MERALCO 79 – West 40, Taulava 15, Cardona 8, Daa 5, Macapagal 5, Bulawan 2, Mercado 2, Hugnatan 2, Ross 0, Reyes 0.

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