It was a battle in Dipolog but unfortunately for the Purefoods Star Hotshots (4-1), they weren’t the team that came away with the win as their four-game winning streak was halted by Rain or Shine (3-2), 78-71.
Early in the game, it looked like Purefoods was on their way to another win as they built a steady 14-point lead in the second quarter of action. However, the Elasto Painters came back, as they always do, trimming the Hotshots’ lead to only two points at halftime.
Come the third quarter, Rain or Shine stepped on the gas even more as they surged ahead comfortably going into the 4th quarter. Purefoods tried to mount a comeback late in the game but their rally was doused by a big three (their main weapon in this game) by Beau Belga.
Story of the Game: Raining Threes for ROS
It was the Elasto Painters’ outside sniping that propelled them to this win against the Hotshots. Although Rain or Shine only shot 28.9 percent from the three-point line, they made a total of 11 shots from rainbow country compared to only three for the Hotshots. They were led by Paul Lee (the birthday boy) who had three as he finished with a team-high 18 points on top of eight rebounds and two assists. Gabe Norwood, Chris Tiu, and Jeff Chan had two three’s a piece as well.
Two back-breaking plays that defined this game involved three-pointers by the Elasto Painters. One was that loooong shot (maybe all the way from Manila, haha!) by Jonathan Uyloan that extended Rain or Shine’s lead to a sizeable advantage. And of course, who couldn’t forget Beau Belga’s dagger bank shot of a three that sealed the game for Coach Yeng and his troops.
It was that kind of night for Rain or Shine. When it’s raining threes for them, they’re a hard team to stop. Malas lang ng Purefoods, natapat sa kanila ‘yung ganitong laro ng Rain or Shine.
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Aside from the solid outside game by the Elasto Painters, there was no one else Purefoods could blame but themselves. They weren’t able to execute their offense and defense the way they did in their first four games, wasting an impressive 20-20 night from their import, Daniel Orton (23 points, 23 rebounds, 7 blocked shots!).
There was an obvious lack of local support for Orton in this game. Aside from their import, only Mark Barroca and Allein Maliksi finished with double figures for Purefoods. Production from the usual suspects like James Yap (with only a point in this game, more on him later), Marc Pingris, Joe Devance, Alex Mallari, and spitfire Justin Melton were nowhere to be found. This can be attributed to the fact that Purefoods approached this game with a lot of isolation plays resulting in only eight total assists for the team, a far number from their average in the first four games this conference.
Also, Purefoods weren’t able to run the break in this game. This was one of their main weapons early in this conference and the Elasto Painters’ transition defense kept this in check the entire game. Adding to the Hotshots’ misery was their woeful free throw shooting. They only shot 51.3 percent from the charity stripe, missing 19 FREE THROWS! Yep, they missed 19 freebies. How disappointing. If they could’ve just made their foul shots, they could’ve been in a better position in the end game and they could’ve possibly stolen the win from Rain or Shine.
- Interesting trivia related to this game were tweeted by Sir Fidel Mangonon (@thepbaologist):
- James Yap continued his slump in this game; he was only able to contribute a solitary point for his team. He played for only 16 minutes because of a knee injury after a collision with Chris Tiu. Actually, he was a non-factor even before he suffered that hit to his knee. I hope it’s nothing serious though. Sitting out a couple of games could possibly benefit him as he tries figure out what’s happening with his non-existent game these past few outings.
- PJ Simon was also unable to play due to back spasms. Hopefully, PJ Simon finds his way back to the playing court real soon, especially now that his partner, “Big Game” James, is still finding his form.
- Daniel Orton’s production in this game was impressive but the way he handled the calls of the officials was not. He argued with the officials for most of the time as he faced a very physical Rain or Shine front line. As talented as he is, he has got to check his temper as it could get the better of not only him but of the entire Purefoods team as well.
The Purefoods Star Hotshots have a chance to bounce back as they face KIA in their next game. It will again be a big test for Orton as he’ll be up against the 7’3” monster in PJ Ramos. Also, the Hotshots must not forget what happened in their encounter with KIA last conference. If they become complacent once more, they’ll be in deep trouble, and lose back-to-back games this conference. However, if they just play Purefoods Basketball, they’ll be back on the winning track.
Featured image by Nuki Sabio & Sherwin Vardeleon, Sportsdesk Ph. Edited by MI:NI for HumbleBola.