The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters played two games in three days this past weekend as they took on the Meralco Bolts last Friday, November 22 and the Barangay Ginebra yesterday, November 24.

After an impressive win against Meralco, the Elasto Painter’s winning streak was finally snapped by the Barangay, who dominated them for almost the entire game.

Let’s take a look at both games:

Big Game by Big Beau Lifts Rain or Shine Over Meralco

On paper, Reynel Hugnatan, Rabeh Al-Hussaini and Cliff Hodge look like a tough match-up for Beau Belga and the Rain or Shine frontline.

For this game at least, the challenge of that match-up stayed on paper.

Without JR Quinahan and this being rookie Raymond Almazan’s 1st game, Belga knew that he had to anchor the frontline and he did just that, finishing with 20 points, seven rebounds, four assists, two steals and a block in 32 minutes. He also had help from Larry Rodriguez (13 points, seven rebounds) and Jervy Cruz (six points, 12 rebounds), both of whom continue to impress early in the season.

Beau Belga stepped up big for Rain or Shine. (Photo Credit: Paul Ryan Tan, AKTV)

Keys to the Game
Lock It Down

Meralco’s perimeter players actually played decently in this game, but Rain or Shine did a good job of forcing the action away from the perimeter and more into the still unproven Al-Hussaini (who actually played a pretty good game). The Bolts finished shooting 46% in this game, so it wasn’t really a “win” for the Elasto Painters for this one.

Clean Up

Rain or Shine actually lost the battle of the boards (50-49), but had a commanding edge when it came to offensive boards (15-9). These extra chances and their unrelenting pace added up to giving the Elasto Painters an additional ten shot attempts (84-74). In a game that was just decided by five points, those ten extra chances gave the Elasto Painters the win.

Gallop Away

The Elasto Painters deferred from running too much in this one once they noticed that Meralco was giving the offensive rebounding opportunities all game long.

Ginebra Attack Proves Too Much for Rain or Shine, 97-84

Ginebra sure looked like the team everybody was predicting to be a title contender tonight against Rain or Shine. The Gin Kings relied on the brilliance of their starting unit as LA Tenorio (10 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists, 5 steals), Mark Caguioa (22 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists),  Japeth Aguilar (19 points, 10 rebounds) and Greg Slaughter (18 points, 13 rebounds) all helped wear down an Elasto Painter team that looked rattled right from the opening tip.

For Rain or Shine, Ryan Arana (21 points), Jeff Chan (14 points, 7 assists) and Jervy Cruz (11 points, 7 rebounds) all had their moments, but the entire team was plagued with a bad defensive showing that allowed the Barangay to convert 49% of their shots, including 57% of their attempts inside the arc.

I’m sure our keys to the game will point us in the same direction:

Pick and Roll Defense

Fog of War: LA Tenorio further solidifies his place as the country’s best point guard after putting in a vintage performance last night. Coach Yeng started the night with Arana on Tenorio, who proceeded to run circles around the entire ROS team, dropping dimes and scoring at will. Coach Yeng then proceeded to put Norwood on Tenorio, who did an admirable job, helping ROS climb all the way back from an early deficit and making it a game. Curiously, Norwood didn’t spend the majority of his time checking Norwood as he played only 17 minutes. I’m sure Coach Yeng had his reasons, but this one baffled me.

Rain or Shine had no answers for LA Tenorio (Photo Credit: Pranz Billones)

Initiate Further: It seems as if we were on to something when we suggested that the Elasto Painters try to push Slaughter to set his picks as far away from the paint as possible.  There were instances in this game where Slaughter did start his attack from outside the paint and he ended being unable to convert. Guess it’s a bit awkward to try and dribble if you’re as tall as he is. However, it seems that Coach Ato has made the most of his team’s one week break as we saw a lot of post ups for Slaughter and high-low action with him and Aguilar as well, both of which contributed to Rain or Shine’s demise.

Man and Ball

It wasn’t really the off-the-ball defense that was the problem for Rain or Shine tonight, as the team just couldn’t seem to match-up with Ginebra’s speed on the perimeter and their size inside.

Coach Yeng had no answers for his team's lack of energy against Ginebra.

Coach Yeng had no answers for his team’s lack of energy against Ginebra.

The Elasto Painters next take on the surging and surprising Barako Bull Energy Cola this coming Sunday. With an entire week to prepare, expect Coach Yeng to get his team back on track by that point.