It seemed Rain or Shine has finally found the missing link to stop the bleeding in the PBA Governors’ Cup—import Alexander Kwame
Kwame, the third import ROS took this season after Joel Wright and Kayel Locke, made his presence felt late in the fourth period, banging away big baskets in a late charge that eventually carried the Painters to a 99-82 victory over Blackwater at the Cuneta Astrodome.
The Painters have now arrested what was already an alarming 4-game slump, and clinched their second win in seven outings to remain in the hunt for a spot in the next round.
The Elite on the other hand reeled to their second straight loss and fell down near the cellar at 2-5.
The Painters saw the Elite come close at 84-81 following Marqus Blakely’s five-point cluster, but Alexander came to the rescue and buried a triple tomake it 87-81 for ROS, 3:14 left.
The Elite flopped in their play, paving the way for Rey Nambatac’s drive, as the Painters stretched their lead to 89-81, and sent the Elite suing for ceasefire with 2:30 left.
The Blackwater’s timeout went for naught as it failed to score, paving the way for Kwame’s three-point play to virtually seal the outcome for ROS, 92-81, 2:17 remaining.
Alexander finished with 17 points and 16 rebounds in a relatively impressive debut for the Rain or Shine, which also drew big games from Nambatac, Beau Belga and Daquioag.
Nambatac cut loose with 18 points, seven rebounds and seven assists, Belga added 17 points before he fouled out with 3:37 remaining, while Dauioag chipped in 13 points.
The Elite dominated the first quarter until their offense went in tatters early in the second quarter, and allowed the Painters to uncork their own offensive.
Rey Daquioag and Rey Nambatac sank a triple each highlighting ROS 14-to-nothing scoring binge capped by Kwame Alexander’s layup as the Painters turned a 30-34 deficit into a 44-34 lead.
Mike Cortez stopped the bleeding for the Elite with a jumper, but Kwame canned in two freethrows off Carl Bryan Cruz foul while Nambatac pumped in another booming triple in a brief surge that enabled the Painters to stretch their lead to 49-38.
Marqus Blakely then made two freethrows in the ensuing play to trim RoS lead at the turn, 49-40.
Meanwhile, Phoenix is set to parade new import in Alonzo Gee on Friday as it seeks to bolster its sagging campaign in the season-ending conference.
The Fuel Masters have decided to change long-time import Eugene Phelps after winning just two of their seven outings.
Gee is an NBA-caliber who played for the Cleveland Cavaliers, and whether he could make the difference for the Fuel Masters will be known on Friday when Phoenix plays a dangerous Columbian.
Rain or Shine (99) - Nambatac 18, Alexander 17, Belga 17, Daquioag 13, Exciminiano 8, Ponferada 7, Borboran 7, Norwood 5, Mocon 3, Onwubere 3.
Blackwater (82) - Parks 27, Blakely 21, Cortez 16, Sumang 7, Belo 7, Maliksi 2, Sena 2, Cruz 0, Desiderio 0, Heruela 0, Al-Hussaini 0, Jose 0.
Quarterscores: 20-26, 49-40, 69-67, 99-82.