Just as when the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel was on the cusp of flying to the 2017 Commissioner’s Cup playoffs, the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters gallantly stood in their way, and made sure to delay the pending trip.
The Elasto Painters had to endure a series of waves by the gutsy Barangay to earn one of their biggest wins of the conference, 118-112, and keep their own playoff hopes alive, Friday night at the Cuneta Astrodome.
“I think the problem we had at the start of the game was we complained too much and we lost focus,” said Rain or Shine head coach Caloy Garcia regarding their slow start prior to the win, which improves their card to 5-4.
Import Duke Crews, who is coming off a stint in Indonesia, made his return to Rain or Shine notable, leading the Elasto Painters with monster numbers of 28 points on 44 percent shooting alongside 22 rebounds and two blocks.
“he change of import was good for us because Duke was aggressive on the boards,” lauded Garcia of his reinforcement.
The Elasto Painters, once down by as deep as 12, 74-62, in the third canto, turned things in their favor and even led with a comfortable eight-point cushion, 109-101, after a pair of charities by Crews with 3:39 to go in the final frame.
Ginebra though gave a daunting challenge, as Justin Brownlee took matters into his own hands and scored nine straight points ended by a right corner trey to propel the Barangay once more, 111-109, with 1:27 remaining.
But that proved to be the last time Ginebra will take the lead. After split charities by Jay Washington, Brownlee lost the ball to Cruz on the other end, and the quick combo guard raced down the court for an easy deuce, 114-111.
Brownlee tried to redeem himself from the error by launching a potential game-tying three, but his shot went airball. Free throws by Gabe Norwood, Washington, and Cruz in the waning moments completed the upset and the win.
Cruz produced 19 markers, five rebounds, and two dimes for Rain or Shine. Washington had 16 points on 12 shots and seven caroms, while James Yap contributed 15 points on 18 shots.
Brownlee led Ginebra with 38 points on 14-of-26 shooting alongside eight rebounds, six assists, and four blocks. Joe Devance backed him up with 19.
RoS won the rebounds, 53-41. However, both teams had 13 turnovers, but the Elasto Painters took advantage of Ginebra’s errors better as they turned it to 24 points. RoS’ bench added 52 points to their total.
The Barangay will face a tall order in San Miguel this Sunday, May 21, 6:45 PM at the SM Mall of Asia Arena. Rain or Shine, meanwhile, will look to end their skid as they take on Globalport next Friday, May 26, 4:15 PM still at the Astrodome.
Rain or Shine (118) – Crews 28, Cruz 19, Washington 16, Yap 15, Ponferada 11, Cahn 8, Tiu 6, Belga 6, Trollano 6, Ahanmisi 2, Norwood 1, Tolomia 0, Matias 0.
Ginebra (112) – Brownlee 38, Devance 19, Aguilar 15, Thompson 10, Ellis 9, Ferrer 6, Caguioa 6, Mercado 5, Tenorio 4.
Quarterscores: 24-31, 56-59, 83-93, 118-112.