SANTI Santillan (in photo) and the Rain or Shine Elastopainters hacked out a 95-93 victory in PBA Philippine Cup action on Sunday. — PBA IMAGES

By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter

THE Rain or Shine Elastopainters halted the charge of the San Miguel Beermen in the (Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Philippine Cup, hacking out a 95-93 victory in league action on Sunday at the Don Honorio Ventura State University (DHVSU) Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.

Towed by the spirited play of young cogs Santi Santillan and Javee Mocon and the clutch shooting and playmaking of Rey Nambatac late in the game, the Elastopainters pulled off the big win that thrust them to a 6-4 record and in a good position to finish among the top teams as the playoffs approach.

Rain or Shine trailed San Miguel throughout the first half and stared at a 10-point deficit, 51-41, at the break.

In the third quarter, the Elastopainters would gain some headway in their push, led by rookie Santillan and third-year man Mocon, who combined for 20 points of their team’s 31 points in the frame to sway the favor to their side.

They levelled the count at 66-all with 58 seconds to go and used it as a springboard to go on top, 72-69, heading into the final quarter.

The teams slugged it out in the fourth canto, fighting to a tight contest of 87-all with 5:09 to go.

Rain or Shine though would get some breathing room, 92-87, in the next two minutes and threatened to go for the closeout.

But the Beermen made one last push, tying the score at 93-all with 12 seconds to play after a basket off a steal by CJ Perez.

That set up the heroics of Mr. Nambatac.

Off the bench, he would score the go-ahead basket, banking in an off-balance shot to push his team ahead, 95-93, with two seconds left.

San Miguel sued for time after but could not get a decent shot in the ensuing play to preserve the win for Rain or Shine.

Mr. Santillan top-scored for the Elastopainters with 21 points, followed by Mr. Mocon, who had a double-double of 18 points and 12 rebounds.

Rookie Anton Asistio also scored in double figures for Rain or Shine with 11 points while also adding seven assists.

“I just asked them to be fearless today. And they responded,” said Rain or Shine coach Cris Gavina in the post-game press conference.

For San Miguel, which saw its win streak stop at two and drop to 5-3, it was Terrence Romeo who showed the way with 20 points, with Mr. Perez and Arwind Santos adding 18 points apiece.