By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter

THE Rain or Shine (ROS) Elasto Painters scored a big win over the Blackwater Elite, 82-71, on Sunday at the Angeles University Foundation (AUF) Arena in Pampanga to give their PBA Philippine Cup playoff push added muscle.

On a slide entering the contest, losing three straight, the Elasto Painters used a strong run in the third canto to create separation from the Elite and held on the rest of the way for the victory to regain its footing in the ongoing Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) tournament and improve to a 5-4 record.

Sophomore Javee Mocon led the ROS charge in the victory, finishing with a double-double of 19 points and 13 rebounds.

After holding a four-point cushion in the opening half, 38-34, the Elasto Painters cranked things up in the third canto, outscoring their opponents, 25-11, to stretch their lead to 18 points, 63-45, with one quarter left to play.

In the fourth period, Blackwater tried to rally back, but it could only come to within eight points when everything was already settled with 34 seconds remaining.

Beau Belga finished with 14 points for Rain or Shine, with rookie Clint Doliguez and Ryan Arana adding eight points each.

“Credit to the players. The three-game losing streak started to put pressure on us, but we just focused on shooting better and grinding it out,” said ROS coach Caloy Garcia, whose team moved to a share of fifth spot with three other teams as of this writing.  

For Blackwater (2-7), it was Mac Belo who showed the way with 15 points to go along with eight rebounds.

Guard Roi Sumang and veteran Nino Canaleta added 11 points apiece for the Elite, who have lost six straight.

With the loss, Blackwater is now out of the running for a spot in the quarterfinals. Also eliminated are the Northport Batang Pier (1-7) and Terrafirma Dyip (1-7).

In the PBA Philippine Cup, only the top eight teams after the elimination round advance to the next round with the top four teams enjoying a twice-to-beat advantage over their lower-seeded opponents.

The top seed faces the number eight team, #2 vs. #7, #3 vs. # 6, and #4 vs. #5.

In case of a tie, playoff games will be held only for the #8 seed. For the rest, the quotient system will be in effect.

Meanwhile, games on Monday will have the Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters against Blackwater at 1 p.m., Alaska Aces versus the NLEX Road Warriors at 4 p.m., and the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings against Terrafirma at 6:45 p.m.