Reaching for Star
Rain or Shine demolished Blackwater, 107-93, yesterday in the PBA Philippine Cup and the Elasto Painters plan to use all the gains from the victory in an interesting matchup against an intriguing foe over a week from now.
Coach Caloy Garcia gave James Yap his longest exposure in a Rain or Shine uniform, and the former two-time MVP responded with aplomb by shooting a team-high 15 points in close to 26 minutes at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.
Not only did the Painters rise to a 3-1 record, but coach Caloy Garcia also polished Yap for an expectedly emotional showdown against his former team, Star.
That match will also have the Painters going up against the player who served as the engine to their string of successes in the league—Paul Lee.
“I really gave him extended minutes,” Garcia said as Yap logged the second most number of minutes behind starting center Raymund Almazan. “I want him to be ready for our next game, which will be Star. I experimented on different combinations on the floor today.”
There were a total of five players in twin digits for Rain or Shine, with Almazan completing another double-double with 14 points and 16 rebounds.
Blackwater took a second straight loss flush on the kisser after the Painters broke away at the halfway mark of the third period to even lead by 22.
The Rain or Shine defense also clamped down hard on celebrated rookie Mac Belo, who was starved to just 13 points, the lowest output of his young and very promising pro career.
Belo, who came into the game averaging close to 23 points and eight rebounds, was 1-for-5 from three-point range and 5-for-11 from two-point zone as he was challenged the entire night by the Rain or Shine defense.
“We were all over the place in the first half and I had to emphasize ball movement [to my players at halftime],” Garcia said. “And I think we did that pretty well in the second half.”
The match with the Hotshots happens on Dec. 18 and Garcia is pretty aware of the pressure that Yap and Lee could possibly play with, that game being the first since the most celebrated trade in the offseason.
Meanwhile, rookie Ed Daquioag matched his career-high with 23 points in yet another sterling effort coming off the bench and led Meralco to a 98-87 decision of sister team TNT KaTropa in the nightcap.
Daquioag, the former Santo Tomas standout in the UAAP, scored 10 of his total in the fourth period.
TNT’s loss spoiled the debut of new coach Nash Racela as the Texters lost for the first time in their last three games and dropped to 2-2 overall.
RAIN OR SHINE 107 – BLACKWATER 93
RAIN OR SHINE 107—Yap 15, Almazan 14, Ponferada 13, Chan 11, Trollano 11, Norwood 9, Ahanmisi 8, Belga 8, Washington 7, Cruz 6, Tolomia 5, Ibanes 0, Matias 0.
BLACKWATER 93—Aguilar 15, Belo 13, Dela Cruz 12, Sena 12, Buenafe 11, Pascual 8, Gamalinda 7, Pinto 6, Cervantes 4, Miranda 3, Ababou 2, Banal 0, Forrester 0, Perez 0.
Quarters: 16-19, 46-39, 75-59, 107-93
MERALCO 98 – TNT 87
MERALCO 98—Daquioag 23, Al-Hussaini 14, Hugnatan 11, Newsome 11, Nabong 10, Amer 9, Hodge 9, Caram 6, Yeo 4, Grey 1, Faundo 0, Chua 0.
TNT 87—Castro 23, Williams 19, De Ocampo 9, Pogoy 9, reyes 9, Tautuaa 6, Rosser 5, Rosario 4, Fonacier 3, Carey 0, Rosales 0.
Quarters: 26-23, 45-45, 75-69, 98-87
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