RAIN or Shine leaned on a strong fourth quarter to surprise Meralco, 83-81, and keep its quarterfinal hopes alive in the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup on Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Richard Ross and Rey Nambatac almost single-handedly carried the offensive all throughout the game to help the Elasto Painters pull off what was only their fourth win in all their 11 outings in the elimination.
Ross, who played in Norway and Luxembourg after going undrafted in 2015 in the NBA, cut loose with 26 points and hauled down 12 rebounds while Nambatac was just as impressive in his 24-point production.
The Elasto Painters struggled most of the way and finally seized momentum in the last four minutes as they built an 82-77 lead on Nambatac’s drive.
Raymond Almazan, himself a former RoS stalwart, scored on putback with 46 seconds remaining to keep the Bolts within striking distance, 82-81.
Jewel Ponferrada fished a crucial foul from Almazan in the return play, but the former split his charities, giving RoS an 83-81 lead.
Nambatac then capped his gamelong brilliance by making a big steal off Bong Quinto as the Painters stopped the Bolts’ hot streak.
The Painters ended their elimination campaign tied with Columbian Dyip at 4-7. Both teams still have chances – slim as it is – if Alaska and NorthPort (which was still playing Ginebra at press time) lose their last outings.
The quotient system will be applied to determine which team gets booted as well the two teams that clash in single playoff determining the eighth and last berth in the 8-team quarterfinal round.
In battling from 13 points down, the Elasto Painters also snapped Meralco’s five-game winning streak.
The Bolts finished the eliminations at 8-3.
Allen Durham, Baser Amer, Almazan and Chis Newsome alternated in offense, finishing with 12 points or more. However, their effort was not enough for the Bolts to sustain their hot streak.
“Big win for us. We just needed this game to survive and at least give us a chance,” said Rain or Shine coach Caloy Garcia.
Rain or Shine 83 - Ross 26, Nambatac 24, Exciminiano 8, Borboran 4, Ponferada 4, Mocon 4, Norwood 4, Rosales 3, Torres 3, Belga 3, Daquioag 0.
Meralco 81 - Durham 23, Amer 18, Almazan 18, Newsome 12, Quinto 6, Pinto 2, Caram 2, Faundo 0, Hodge 0, Salva 0.
Quarterscores: 23-21, 41-42, 60-69, 83-81