ROS halts surging Air21 as locals step up with import in foul trouble
MANILA, Philippines—Rain or Shine head coach Yeng Guiao worried how Bruno Sundov’s early foul trouble would affect his team’s play.
The Elasto Painters turned out to be just fine sans Sundov at one stretch and went on to beat Air21, 94-83, Sunday in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
“I was a little worried when Bruno fell into the same pattern of fouling early and we had to sit him on the bench for a long period of time,” said Guiao. “It was really difficult to matchup with their import.”
“But the locals held their own. We were able to defend their import just by helping each other out and I think that was the key.”
Jeff Chan and Ryan Arana combined for 25 points in the second half, 18 in the fourth quarter where the Elasto Painters, who played all-Filipino majority of the final frame, created separation. Chan shot 16 points while Arana had 13.
A 19-4 run by Rain or Shine, which tied Alaska in first place with an 8-3 record, turned a one-point deficit heading into the fourth period to an 82-68 lead on a drive by Arana with 5:47 left.
The Express, whose four-game winning streak ended, led by seven, 60-53, at one point in the third period thanks to Michael Dunigan’s 14 points in that quarter alone.
Dunigan, who finished with a game-high 33 points, though, slowed down in the last quarter with Rain or Shine doubling up on him.
“Good thing they weren’t making their threes when we doubled off on their import,” Guiao pointed out.
Despite being hobbled by foul trouble, the seven-foot-two Sundov, who already picked up five fouls with still over a quarter left to play, still ended up with 23 points, on four-of-five shooting from long range, to go along with 11 rebounds. Sundov’s final trey off a nice find by Paul Lee, made it 87-74, with 3:19 left.
Chris Tiu and Larry Rodriguez added eight points apiece.