CURRENTLY leading in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner’s Cup with an unblemished 2-0 record, the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters look to stay in top form when they trek back to action today against the NLEX Road Warriors in the 7 p.m. main game at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
Hitting from all cylinders to start their campaign in the midseason PBA tournament, the Elasto Painters have rendered themselves a team to take note of, something they hope to sustain as the Commissioner’s Cup moves on.
“For as long as we move the ball well to find open shots and make them, I think we’ll have a good conference,” said Rain or Shine coach Caloy Garcia following their 108-89 domination of the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings in their last game on April 29.
Import Reggie Johnson continued with his impressive showing for Rain or Shine, finishing with 16 points and 15 rebounds in just 36 minutes on the floor against the Kings.
It was in follow up to his auspicious debut in the PBA against the Alaska Aces where he wound up with 32 points and 22 boards.
Also stepping up for the Elasto Painters in their previous game were Raymond Almazan and Ed Daquioag, who scored team-leading 20 and 17 points, respectively.
James Yap, Maverick Ahanmisi and Chris Tiu were the other Rain or Shine players in double digits with 10 points apiece to further underscore the balanced attack they had against the Kings.
Incidentally, with his steady play so far in the tournament, Mr. Tiu was named player of the week.
The 32-year-old Tiu has been averaging 14 points, 6.5 assists and three rebounds in their first two games.
Meanwhile, out to derail Rain or Shine is NLEX, which fell to Columbian Dyip, 123-103, in its debut on April 28.
The Road Warriors, who had an impressive run in the Philippine Cup, winding up in the semifinals, lost steam in the end against the Dyip en route to slumping to the defeat.
NLEX, who played sans key pieces Kevin Alas, Alex Mallari and Rabeh Al-Hussaini due to injuries, was led by fill-in import Adrian Forbes with 26 points, 17 rebounds and five blocks.
JR Quiñahan had 20 points while Larry Fonacier, Cyrus Baguio and Juami Tiongson finished with 12, 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Rookie sensation Kiefer Ravena was held to just nine points, three rebounds and three assists in 18 minutes on the floor.
Mr. Forbes, however, is not to play against Rain or Shine as he has been replaced by Arnett Moultrie.
In the first game at 4:30 p.m., meanwhile, GlobalPort Batang Pier clash with the Blackwater Elite.
The Batang Pier (1-1) try to make it back-to-back wins after barging into the win column in their last game against the Meralco Bolts.
Blackwater (0-3), for its part, makes another go at a first victory and hand new coach Bong Ramos a winning start.
Following their 93-74 loss to Alaska on April 29, the Elite decided to make a coaching change, relieving long-time coach Leo Isaac of his duties and replacing him with former deputy Ramos. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo