E-Painters boost bid

THANKS to its gallant stand in the fourth period, Rain or Shine  put one foot in the quarterfinal round of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Wednesday.

The Elasto Painters leaned on a brief but telling scoring run early in the fourth to defeat Magnolia, 86-82, in a crucial victory fashioned before an appreciative crowd at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Beau Belga, Javee Mocon, Kris Rosales and Ed Daquioag teamed up in a 15-4 scoring binge spanning five minutes as the Elasto Painters broke loose from a 67-all standoff and posted an 82-72 lead, with 7:05 minutes left.

The Hotshots stayed within striking distance at 84-80 on Ian Sangalang’s basket with 1:33 left, after which both teams went silent and squandered two possessions each.

But what was most telling was Magnolia’s offensive in the last 16 seconds that saw James Farr who extricated himself from a tight defense by RoS debuting import  Carl Montgomery only to muff what looked like an open layup.

Gabe Norwood secured the rebound but fished out a quick foul from Sangalang in the process. He coolly sank two penalty freethrows for what stood in the final tally.

The Painters, who nosed out Alaska, 86-84, last July 6, have now clinched their second straight win and fifth overall in 10 outings, going a notch higher at fifth place. They could cement a best-of-3 stint by beating San Miguel Beer on Saturday in Cagayan de Oro City.

The Hotshots, on the other hand, tumbled to their third straight loss, and fell to sixth place also at 5-5 record. They need to win over Talk ‘N Text at the close of the elimination round on July 17 to avoid getting involved in logjam among teams in the lower ranks that are fighting for quarterfinal berths.

Montgomery, who replaced an injured Denzel Bowles, debuted with 20 points, 12 rebounds and four assists, while Belga and Daquioag were easily the brightest among the RoS locals.

Belga cut loose with 22 points, and five rebounds while Daquioag added 14 points for RoS, which actually seized control late in the third but just could not pull away. It was in the fourth period where they gave their all in both ends of the court.

Rain or Shine got a big break after Magnolia’s Paul Lee hurt his left ankle as he stepped on the foot of the man he was trying to harass. The incident happened during the 9:33 mark of the third period where the Hotshots were protecting a 45-40 lead.

Lee, who is likely to be named in the 14-man Gilas pool, slowly got up as he held on to his ankle and was eventually helped to the bench by his teammates.

The fleet-footed Lee returned to action in the fourth quarter already.

The scores:

Rain or Shine (86) - Belga 22; Montgomery 20, Daquioag 14, Rosales 7, Mocon 7, Norwood 5, Nambatac 5, Ponferada 3, Torres 2, Borboran 1.

Magnolia (82) - Sangalang 24, Farr 19, Barroca 14, Lee 9, Jalalon 7, Dela Rosa 6, Herndon 3, Melton 0, Pingris 0, Brondial 0.

Quarterscores: 15-22, 35-41, 64-61, 86-82.