By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
THE Rain or Shine Elasto Painters swung back into the win column in the Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup after holding off the Columbian Dyip, 88-86, in overtime in an out-of-town match in Batangas City on Sunday.
Absorbed a tough defeat last time around where they blew a big lead to an undermanned Northport Batang Pier squad, the Elasto Painters averted dropping back-to-back games by holding tough in the end against a spirited challenge from the Dyip.
The win improved Rain or Shine to 3-3 while sending Columbian down to a third straight defeat and a 1-6 card in the midseason PBA tournament.
The game got to a competitive start with the two teams going on spurts and counter-spurts, eventually fighting to a 27-22 count, with Columbian on top, after the first quarter.
Rain or Shine would open the second canto strong, led by import Denzel Bowles.
It outgunned Columbian, 18-4, in the first six minutes to race to a nine-point advantage, 40-31.
But rookie CJ Perez and the rest of the Dyip would regain their footing the rest of the way, narrowing their deficit to just five points, 44-39, heading into the halfway juncture of the contest.
The nip-and-tuck nature of the game continued in the third frame as the two teams kept the pressure on one another.
Columbian came to within a point, 54-53, at the seven-minute mark, and reclaimed the lead, 55-54, after a minute.
Rain or Shine responded with a 5-0 run after to build a 59-55 advantage with three minutes left in the quarter.
Momentum swung back-and-forth for the remainder of the period with the score winding up knotted at 62-all entering the final 12 minutes.
With the game anything but settled, the two squads jockeyed aggressively to get early control in the fourth.
The Dyip sprinted to a 70-63 lead by the 8:46 mark.
Rain or Shine made attempts to narrow the gap and was successful in it, tying the score at 71-all with 4:42 to go care of import Bowles.
The Elasto Painters continued to take it to the Dyip, seizing a two-point lead, 77-75, with 2:35 remaining after a triple from rookie Javee Mocon.
Rashawn McCarthy then drained a three-pointer to hand back the lead to Columbian, 78-77, with 2:05 remaining.
Rain or Shine, however, came back with a deuce from Rey Nambatac 50 seconds after to go on top, 79-78.
Columbian sued for time after to set up a play but it was forced into a turnover in the inbounds play to hand back the ball to the Elasto Painters.
A split from the charity line by Mr. Bowles increased Rain or Shine’s lead to two points, 80-78, with 47 ticks left.
The Dyip once again called for time after. They went to import Lester Prosper but his three-pointer air-balled.
Rain or Shine secured the rebound then called timeout.
Columbian fouled Mr. Bowles with 24 seconds remaining, who in turn split his charities once again to leave the door open for the Dyip.
The Dyip capitalized on it with Mr. McCarthy draining the game-tying triple with a second left that eventually sent the game to overtime.
Columbian gained early traction to begin extra time with Rain or Shine catching up with it at 84-all with three minutes on the clock.
The score was still knotted at 86-all with 38 seconds remaining.
Mr. Perez managed to find his way to the hoop but failed to finish the basket giving Rain or Shine a chance to win the game with 17 ticks left.
Off a timeout, the Elasto Painters went to Mr. Mocon but Mr. Perez was able to deflect the ball with four seconds remaining in the game.
Rain or Shine called timeout anew and after they went inside the paint to Mr. Nambatac, who connected to hand the lead to his team, 88-86, with 2.6 seconds to go.
Columbian tried to salvage the win but the Elasto Painters’ defense held tough to preserve the victory.
Mr. Bowles led Rain or Shine with a triple double of 29 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists. He, however, went 7-of-21 from the free throw line. Mr. Nambatac and Jewel Ponferrada backstopped him with 10 points each.
For Columbian it was Mr. Prosper who showed the way with 26 points and 15 rebounds with Mr. McCarthy finishing with 15 points.