RAIN or Shine and TNT Tropang Giga recovered from previous defeats by beating separate opponents in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Philippine Cup on Friday at the Don Honorio Ventura State University gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.
The Elasto Painters displayed nerves of steel at crunch time to edge Magnolia, 75-72, and halt a two-game skid while rookie Mikey Williams tallied a career-high 36 points on 13-of-20 shooting as the Tropang Giga routed NLEX, 100-85.
Rookie Leonard Santillan scored seven of his 14 points in that fourth period and also hauled down five rebounds for Rain or Shine which booked its fifth win against four losses.
Santillan also rose to the occasion by completing a three-point play off Calvin Abueva’s foul that put Rain or Shine ahead, 70-68, with 2:20 left.
Beau Belga and Norbert Torres nailed a basket each after that play, but Ian Sangalang buried two free throws and Mark Andy Barroca scored on a running jumper as Magnolia kept the game close at 72-74 with 54 seconds to go.
JV Mocon, who led Rain or Shine with 19 points and eight rebounds, gave Rain or Shine a 75-72 breather with 13 seconds left and Jerick Ahanmisi’s game-tying triple was off, allowing the Elasto Painters to escape with the win.
“We really needed this [win] so badly to enter the playoffs. Coach Chris [Gavina] has been teaching us confidence, staying together as a team, and we got the result we wanted,” Mocon said.
Two-time Most Valuable Player and former Magnolia player James Yap added 14 points for Rain or Shine.
Sangalang scattered 21 points and hauled down 10 rebounds for the Hotshots, who despite falling to 6-3 won-lost assured themselves of a quarterfinals berth after outlasting NLEX in double overtime, 112-105, on Wednesday.
Coach Chot Reyes and TNT caught NLEX off guard in the other match.
“We knew they were going to come out hard after their last game. So our focus was to just match their intensity in the first half, and we knew coming from a double-overtime game, we thought if we could stay with them, our pace would wear them down,” Reyes said.
Rookie Kib Montalbo and Roger Pogoy scored 13 points each while Kelly Williams and JP Erram had 10 points apiece for the Tropang Giga, who improved to 7-1.
The Road Warriors slid to 4-4.