Clutch freethrows help Rain or Shine survive GinebraBy Celest R. Flores
MANILA, Philippines — Rain or Shine leaned on its steady freethrow shooting to ward off Ginebra 96-93 on Sunday in the 2013 PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Elastopainters, who played sans an import in the latter part of the game, countered the Kings’ clutch three-point shooting by missing just one of nine attempts from the stripe in the final minute.
Beau Belga and Paul Lee nailed their charities in the last 9.5 seconds, each trip to the free-throw line coming after Ginebra made its three courtesy of LA Tenorio and Mark Caguioa.
“We had two lucky escapes. Tribute and credit to the locals for stepping up and working hard in the absence of our import,” said head coach Yeng Guiao.
Bruno Sundov, who had 12 points, fouled out with three minutes to go for the second straight game — the last was in Rain or Shine’s 99-97 win over Air21 last Wednesday.
Belga led the Elastopainters, who improved to 4-1, with 18 points, nine rebounds and two blocks.
Jervy Cruz had 13, while Jireh Ibanes, Lee and Ryan Araña added 11 each.
Even as Rain or Shine broke off a 74-all deadlock early in the fourth quarter, Ginebra remained within striking distance.
The Kings saw an opening when Sundov fouled out, and put on a last ditch rally to pull within 90-92 on a triple by Caguioa then 93-94 on a trey by Tenorio in the finals seconds.
But that was the last gap for Ginebra, which reeled to its fifth setback in six games.