RAIN or Shine wove an awesome offensive to bring down North Port, 91-85, and clinch a semifinal spot in the PBA Philippine Cup on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Elasto Painters were in control most of the way, leading by as many as 15 points (89-74) in the fourth period as they pushed the Batang Pier to kingdom come.
The Elasto Painters need to beat the Batang Pier only once for finishing top 2 after the 11-game elimination, and they did just that yesterday behind a sustained offensive anchored on Ed Daquioag, Rey Nambatac and Beau Belga.
Daquioag scored 15 points, Nambatac added 14 and Belga 13 as they stood at the forefront of the Elasto Painters’ mighty offensive which the Batang Pier failed to contain despite excellent job by Mo Tautuaa, Garvo Lanete and Jonathan Grey.
The three North Port gunners finished a combined output of 55 points.
The Batang Pier were at their best when they moved within 55-52 on two free throws by Lanete, but they quickly fell behind at 73-59.
The Painters entered the last 2:20 minutes enjoying a 91-77 lead which proved enough to cushion the impact of North Port’s late rally engineered by Grey, Paulo Taha and Lanete.
James Yap and Kris Rosales scored four points each in a brief RoS run which enabled the Elasto Painters to pad their 30-25 lead to 43-33 at the turn.
The momentum though shifted on the side of the Batang Pier at the onset of the third period, unloading a 10-4 tear ignited by Stanley Pringle’s triple and capped by Nico Elorde’s triple to narrow the gap at 47-43.
Although the Painters were quick to react on the situation, the Batang Pier’s mighty offensive continued and before the Painters
Meanwhile, San Miguel Beer and Barangay Ginebra try to finish off their quarterfinal rivals today as they both gun for sweep of their respective best-of-3 series at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Beermen try to sustain the heat of their last Saturday’s 80-78 victory as they play an embattled Talk ‘N Text in Game 2 of the brief series in main offering at 7 p.m.
The Gin Kings likewise won the opener of their series against Magnolia, 86-75, making them the slight favorites in the 4:30 p.m. Game 2 encounter.
If the Gin Kings win today, they will play the Elasto Painters in the best-of-7 semis.
Rain or Shine (91) - Daquioag 15, Nambatac 14, Belga 13, Ponferada 8, Norwood 8, Mocon 8, Yap 7, Ahanmisi 5, Torres 5, Borboran 4, Rosales 4, Maiquez 0, Onwubere 0, Alejandro 0.
NorthPort (85) - Tautuaa 24, Lanete 20, Grey 11, Pringle 9, Taha 7, Bolick 5, Guinto 4, Flores 0, Gabayni 0, Sollano 0.
Quarterscores: 14-17, 43-33, 73-62, 91-85.