Both teams pushed the gas pedal early, exchanging baskets in the first few minutes before ROS decided to rev it up and widen the gap via fastbreaks. The Elasto Painters built a 14-point lead in the first half, but as expected, the Comeback Kings successfully trimmed down the deficit. The Aces even managed to get ahead courtesy of Calvin Abueva‘s beastly attacks and Dondon Hontiveros‘ hot hands in the fourth quarter, but Gabe Norwood got his dimpled game face on and scored seven straight points at crunch time. Beau Belga
ate put the icing on the cake using his patented fake at the three-point area before swishing a dagger jumper.
1. Rain or Shine continues to move the ball around so seamlessly, assisting on 57.9 percent of their field goals. Several Elasto Painters were eager to take on the playmaking duties in the absence of their star point guard Paul Lee, who was sidelined due to an elbow injury obtained in practice. Norwood dished six dimes, while the bigs Belga, Chism, and Raymond Almazan had four apiece. ROS made a total of 22 assists in the match, compared to Alaska’s 12.
2. It was raining threes all over the arena as shooters from both teams came out to play. Rain or Shine made 11 of their 29 attempts, while the Aces made 9-of-26. Chan, Hontiveros, and Damion James led the shootout with three booming triples each. The three-point party became intense in the final quarter when Alaska was inching closer and creeping their way back into the game. The Elasto Painters did not panic and responded accordingly. It was time to go home when Norwood banked a lucky triple as part of his very own seven-to-nothing run.
3. Rain or Shine’s first-choice import announced that he’s back leaner and meaner with an impressive 24-point 21-rebound, 4-assist outing.
Chism had better percentages from the perimeter, but he also knew how to muscle his way in. It’s important to note though that they were against a team with a depleted frontline. His inside presence will be tested when they face teams with bigger imports, such as Barako Bull, which happens to be their next assignment.
Lebron Damion James also had a good debut performance – 28 points, 16 rebounds, 3 blocks -but not enough to turn the tides to the Aces’ favor.
Great team effort on both ends and huge shots down the stretch made Rain or Shine dodge a bullet. They could’ve cruised to the finish line much easier had they made their free throws, but oh well, at least they survived. With this win, Rain or Shine improves their record to 4-2, tied at the third spot with Purefoods. Hopefully with Chism at the helm and the local crew pumped up, they can finally set their sails and build their momentum as they delve deeper into the eliminations.
Featured image courtesy of Nuki Sabio, PBA Image