Veteran Gabe Norwood submitted a throwback performance in the fourth quarter to help Rain or Shine arrest their two-game skid at the expense of still-winless Terrafirma, 83-77, Sunday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
Trailing by 15 late in the first half, 26-41, the Elasto Painters stayed within striking distance and eventually chipped the deficit to six early in the fourth quarter.
Norwood was the catalyst in the game-defining run, when he scored eight straight points, including two consecutive three-pointers to give his side the seven-point cushion, 74-67. His teammates picked up the slack from there, eventually stretching the offensive outburst to 18 unanswered points to erect the 79-67 lead, 5:27 remaining in the game.
The Fil-Am swingman finished with a season-high 15 points, seven rebounds, and three assists, a far cry from his season averages of 5.0 markers and 5.0 boards.
"It's really just putting the ball in the basket. You know, our defense I think is at the top of the league, and we've done that basically two years in a row -- we did it in the bubble, and then also at the start of the season," relayed Norwood in the post-game press conference.
"But we just gotta get more consistent with putting the ball in the basket -- myself included -- and I think we'll be fine from there if we can just consistently do that," added the team captain.
For Terrafirma, which lost their fourth straight contest to start the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup, they were led by Juami Tiongson's 20 markers and seven assists. Last year's top overall pick Roosevelt Adams chipped 13 markers and hauled in 16 rebounds.
After an 8-all deadlock, the Dyip created some separation courtesy of an 11-1 run, taking a 20-9 lead. However, the Elasto Painters scored seven unanswered points to cut the lead, 20-16. Terrafirma came away with a 27-21 lead, led by JP Calvo's nine-point outing in the quarter.
Following a jumper by Tiongson that gave Dyip their biggest lead of the game, Rain or Shine battled back with a 12-2 run to trim the lead to five, 43-38. Dyip led 45-40 at halftime.
In the third quarter, Terrafirma's lead swelled to 14 once again, but the Elasto Painters did not let the game out of hand. Eventually, they trimmed the gap to four, 65-61, by the chapter's conclusion.
"Terrafirma made us fight until the end. That top ball screen action of theirs, they were executing it well with Juami and Calvo in the first half, and we didn't have an answer. It wasn't until the fourth quarter where we started trapping them, and we were able to get all defensive stops," recalled head coach Chris Gavina.
"It started with just good vibes in the fourth quarter. And we utilized our defensive energy to kind of fire up our offense," added the tactician.
RAIN OR SHINE (83) -- Nambatac 17, Norwood 15, Wong 15, Borboran 9, Mocon 7, Torres 6, Santillan 6, Belga 4, Caracut 2, Ponferada 2, Guinto 0, Johnson 0.
TERRAFIRMA (77) -- Tiongson 20, Adams 13, Calvo 11, Batiller 10, Gabayni 10, Camson 7, Ramos 4, Cahilig 2, Laput 0.
Quarter Scores: 21-27, 40-45, 61-65, 83-77.
-Terrafirma scored more field goals overall (32/83 to 26/74) but Rain or Shine had the edge on three-pointers made (14 to 7) and free throws (17 to 6).
- Gabe Norwood made 3/5 from downtown in the game. He failed to connect from rainbow country in the team's first five contests (0/9).
Rain or Shine vs Ginebra on Friday, Aug. 6, 3 p.m., venue TBA
Terrafirma vs Phoenix on Wednesday, Aug. 4, 6 p.m., at Ynares Pasig