THE Rain or Shine (ROS) Elasto Painters continued to roll in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Philippine Cup, adding to the misery of the still-winless Northport Batang Pier with a 70-68 victory on Sunday at the Angeles University Foundation Gym in Angeles, Pampanga.
Struggled in the early goings of the match, Rain or Shine stayed the course and kept duking it out with Northport all the way to the end and, consequently, was rewarded with a win that handed them a share of the tournament lead at 3-0.
The Batang Pier opened the game going 4-of-5 from beyond the arc to race to an 18-7 lead.
They would use it as a springboard to take a 25-14 advantage after the first 12 minutes of the contest.
In the second quarter, it was the Elasto Painters who would jump-start their offense at the get-go.
Rookie Clint Doliguez found his mark to tow Rain or Shine to within three points, 29-26, by the 6:22 mark.
Garvo Lanete, however, steadied the ship for Northport, allowing them to remain in control by the halftime break, 38-32.
At the start of the third canto, the Elasto Painters got it going, outscoring their opponents, 8-0, to claim the lead, 40-38, in the first three and a half minutes.
They extended it further to a four-point cushion, 44-40, midway into the frame.
Both teams struggled with their offense after, fighting to a 46-40 count heading into the final quarter.
Got their footing in the previous quarter, the Elasto Painters capitalized on it, going on a 12-8 run to hold a double-digit lead, 58-48, with 7:19 to go.
Northport tried to gain some ground back, coming to within two points, 66-64, with 1:12 left on the clock.
Rey Nambatac gave Rain or Shine more breathing space after converting two free throws with a minute left to make it 68-64.
Four straight points though from Kelly Nabong and Christian Standhardinger after tied the score at 68-all with three seconds remaining.
Rain or Shine then sued for time to set up a play to win the game.
The team went back to Mr. Nambatac who was fouled on his way to the basket with 1.3 seconds to go.
Mr. Nambatac coolly sank both charities for the marginal score and the win.
Rookie Adrian Wong paced Rain or Shine in the win with 15 points followed by Sidney Onwubere and Mr. Nambatac with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Messrs. Standhardinger, Lanete, and Sean Anthony had 13 points apiece for Northport (0-3).
The two points that Northport had in the third quarter equalled the league all-time record for fewest points in a quarter held by Barangay Ginebra in the third quarter in an 83-54 loss against Coca-Cola on April 26, 2003 (All Filipino Cup) and Mobiline in the first of a 71-69 loss to Sta. Lucia on Feb. 28, 2001 (All-Filipino Conference).
Meanwhile, games on Monday will have the league-leading TNT Tropang Giga (3-0) taking on fellow undefeated team Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters (2-0) at 4 p.m. followed by the defending champions San Miguel Beermen (1-2) battling Terrafirma Dyip (0-2) at 6:45 p.m. – Michael Angelo S. Murillo