The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters pulled off a massive fourth-quarter performance to stay in second spot in the standings with a 107-100 victory against the NorthPort Batang Pier in the 2019 Honda PBA Philippine Cup Friday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
It was a shootout between the two teams who were jockeying for position right behind the undefeated Phoenix Pulse Fuel Masters. The Elasto Painters made 16 of 36 three-point shots while the Batang Pier were right behind them with 15 conversions in 15 attempts.
While the first three quarters were dictated by the fiery offense of both squads, what gave Rain or Shine the win was their renewed intensity on defense. The Elasto Painters were down by 10 points, 89-79, heading into the final period but they slowly chipped away at the lead. Head coach Caloy Garcia pulled off a brilliant move by inserting Mark Borboran into his lineup even if he did not play in the first three quarters.
Borboran worked wonders with six points and four rebounds in less than 10 minutes of play but the most important number was that Rain or Shine was a plus-16 with him on the floor.
It was a triple from James Yap at the 2:50 mark of the fourth that finally gave the lead to Rain or Shine for good at 102-100 with free throws from Rey Nambatac and a layup from Borboran sealing the seal and giving them their fifth win against a sole loss.
Yap and Norbert Torres were named as the Best Players of the Game as the two-time MVP finished with 19 points on six threes while the big man had 16 markers.
"I really work hard every practice and extra work. Discipline is key at this age. Credit to Norbert and the rest of my teammates because we helped each other out to get this win," Yap answered when asked about his renewed energy this conference.
"When you're in condition, it doesn't matter if you play every other game. You just have to be ready. You'll likely suffer injuries if you're not physically prepared, especially with our schedule."
The Elasto Painters tested NorthPort's defense early as they made their first four attempts from the three, taking an early double-digit lead 14-3. Yap waxed hot with three triples in opening period. However, the Batang Pier used the same weapon against them to march their way back into the game. With rookie Robert Bolick scoring a quick seven points off the bench, NorthPort was only down by three points, 28-25, heading into the second period.
Three-point shooting remained a huge weapon for both squads in the second period as it was basically a shootout with NorthPort coming out on top. Anthony led all scorers at the half with 19 points while Pringle added 17 as the Batang Pier led 59-53.
Anthony and Pringle combined for an uncanny 8 of 10 shooting from beyond the arc in the first 24 minutes but ROS was not far behind as they had 10 triples as a team with five coming from Yap.
NorthPort followed up their 34-point second quarter with 30 points in the third but it would not be enough as they only came up with 11 markers in the payoff period.
Pringle led all scorers with 34 points on an efficient 7 of 10 shooting from the three-point range while Anthony added 22 markers.
Rain or Shine 107 - Yap 19, Belga 19, Torres 16, Almazan 14, Ahanmisi 11, Nambatac 11, Borboran 6, Norwood 4, Daquioag 3, Rosales 2, Mocon 2, Ponferada 0.
NorthPort 100 - Pringle 34, Anthony 22, Tautuaa 16, Bolick 9, Lanete 7, Guinto 6, Gabayni 4, Grey 2, Elorde 0, Sollano 0, Taha 0, Arana 0.
Quarters: 28-25, 53-59, 79-89, 107-100.
The combined 31 triples in the game was just four short of the PBA record for most three-point shots in a 2009 game between TNT and SMB.
It was the first matchup in the pros between San Beda teammates Robert Bolick and Javee Mocon. Bolick had nine points and six rebounds compared to the two points and two rebounds of Mocon but it was the latter's team that picked up the win.
Rain or Shine vs Phoenix Pulse Fuel Masters on February 10 at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum
NorthPort vs Phoenix Pulse Fuel Masters on February 27 at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum