Rain or Shine, Phoenix hurdle rivals
ANTIPOLO—Rain or Shine continued to show that despite a major shakeup in team composition in the preseason, it belongs with the big boys in the PBA and would be just fine for the rest of the season.
Mahindra, on the other hand, after gaining much respect the last season, obviously has a lot of work to do before totally losing that respect.
The Elasto Painters flaunted their old form and tore the Floodbusters to shreds, leading by as large as 49 points on the way to a 105-83 victory over pathetic Mahindra for their second straight victory and a piece of the early Philippine Cup lead at Ynares Center here.
Jericho Cruz scored 15 points, sophomore point guard Maverick Ahanmisi added 14 and everybody but Ronnie Matias scored for new coach Caloy Garcia as the Painters dealt the Floodbusters a second straight drubbing to join Blackwater for the early lead.
Only a listless fourth quarter allowed Mahindra to escape with one of the ugliest losses in the history of the league as the Painters cruised the rest of the way after taking a 98-49 spread early in the payoff frame.
In the second game, Phoenix led big early and held on to defeat defending champion San Miguel, 92-85, and post the first real upset of the young season.
JC Intal came through the clutch to finish with a game-high 22 points, while Simon Enciso sparked the Fuel Masters’ hot start to add 15 points.
Rain or Shine lost head coach Yeng Guiao, franchise player Paul Lee and reliable big man JR Quinahan to different teams in the offseason.
And just when most experts had said that the Painters will be a far different team than what Guiao handled in the previous six seasons, Rain or Shine brought down title-favorite TNT KaTropa with authority last week and waltzed through the Floodbusters last night.
It was a statement night for the Painters, marred only by that token stand in the fourth where they allowed the Floodbusters to score 35 points.
“(It was a) poor fourth quarter for us. We could have played better,” Garcia, who got his second head coaching chance after Guiao went to NLEX with an offer that the multi-titled coach could not refuse, said.
“I told them (Painters) that we shouldn’t be looking at the score (and the big lead that we had) because we need to be consistent the entire game,” Garcia said. “We just had too many turnovers in the fourth quarter and allowed them to attack the basket with no defense at all.”
Mahindra dealt away its core before the start of the season, giving up KG Canaleta, Aldrech Ramos and Bradwyn Guinto to different teams in strange trades that weakened what looked like a promising roster that made the playoffs in the last Governors’ Cup.
It was clear that coach Chris Gavina was looking for someone to step up and found Philip Paniamogan in the fourth period. Paniamogan scored 10 points in the final frame and gave the Floodbusters something positive to look at in a ghastly rout.
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