Rain or Shine notched their third straight win in the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup after grinding out a close 70-68 victory against NorthPort Batang Pier Sunday at the Angeles University Foundation Sports Arena.
Rey Nambatac hit two clutch free throws with 1.3 seconds left to give his team the win as the Elasto Painters move to 3-0, tying the TNT Tropang Giga for first place in the standings.
Rookie Adrian Wong led the charge for Rain or Shine with 15 points off the bench. The sweet-shooting forward did a little bit of everything as he knocked down three 3-pointers, while adding two rebounds and two assists.
"My teammates they just really believed in me. We actually believe in everyone of us," said Wong as he earned Best Player of the Game honors. "We're 15 deep. Anyone on our team could actually take off."
Sidney Onwubere had 11 points and five rebounds while Nambatac chipped in with 10 points, six boards, and six dimes. The Elasto Painters had a whopping 48-19 bench points advantage.
It was a low-scoring battle for the two squads highlighted by an atrocious shooting performance after halftime. Rain or Shine mustered 14 points in the third quarter while NorthPort only had two points, tying a league record for fewest points in a period.
"Today was really an ugly win for us," said RoS head coach Caloy Garcia. "I wanted a better game from us, better production from everybody."
Despite struggling to score in the third period, NorthPort remained resilient down the stretch. Christian Standhardinger's late bucket with 3.3 seconds left tied the game at 68-68. Unfortunately for the Batang Pier, they fouled Nambatac on the other end and sent him to the charity stripe. They still had one last chance but Sean Mangati missed a desperation 3-pointer at the horn.
The trio of Standhardinger, Garvo Lanete, and Sean Anthony scored 13 points apiece for Batang Pier in a losing effort.
As NorthPort is still looking for its first win after three contests, Rain or Shine, meanwhile, looks to recharge and remain perfect as it faces the Alaska Aces next Thursday.
"It was just an ugly game for us. I think that we could do better," said Garcia. "We just have to review what went wrong. Maybe fatigue is hitting us because we just played, this is our third consecutive game. That's the reason why we rotated so many players today."
Rain or Shine 70 - Wong 15 , Onwubere 11 , Nambatac 10 , Mocon 6 , Doliguez 6 , Belga 5, Yap 5 , Torres 5 , Arana 3 , Norwood 2 , Ponferada 2 , Rosales 0 , Borboran 0
NorthPort 68 - Lanete 13 , Anthony 13 , Standhardinger 13, Nabong 10, Taha 4, Cruz 3, Revilla 7, Manganti 3 , Subido 0 , Elorde 2 , Guinto 0 ,
Quarters : 14 - 25 , 32 - 38 , 46 - 40 , 70 - 68
Batang Pier's two-point output in the third period tied the all-time record for fewest points in a quarter according to PBA head statistician Fidel Mangonon. Ginebra (2003) and Mobiline (2001) were the other teams who had the lowest score in a period.
NorthPort, who came into the bubble with the smallest contingent, fielded only 11 players on Sunday as Kevin Ferrer sat out due to a foot hemangioma while Jonathan Grey is still nursing a knee injury.
Rain or Shine vs Alaska Aces on Thursday, October 22 at 6:45 p.m
NorthPort vs NLEX Road Warriors on Wednesday, October 21 at 4:00 p.m