Painters seal last playoff spot, rout Elite
Rain or Shine bucked a slow start and pulled off a 103-80 rout of Blackwater to punch the last quarterfinals ticket in the 2017 PBA Philippine Cup Friday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Jericho Cruz anchored the Elasto Painters with 12 points, 12 rebounds, and two assists, while Jay Washington topscored with 15 points that went with eight boards.
Mike Tolomia came off the bench and scored all of his 14 points in the second half while Beau Belga and Jeff Chan chimed in 12 markers each.
“Finally after five games, nakapasok din kami,” said a relieved Rain or Shine head coach Caloy Garcia. “I told them after our game against Alaska that effort was there, but we have to play same way we did for today’s game.”
Rain or Shine faces top-seed San Miguel in the quarterfinals on Sunday at Ynares Center in Antipolo, with the Beermen enjoying a twice-to-beat advantage.
“We’re facing the best team in the league, but I think we can beat them,” said Garcia.
San Miguel beat Rain or Shine, 107-100, in overtime last January 13.
Falling behind, 13-2, early, the Elasto Painters slowly crawled their way back and finally seized control, 29-24 thanks to a 9-0 blast midway through the second quarter.
Rain or Shine further stepped on the gas pedal, taking a 14-point edge, 53-39, after a Mike Tolomia fastbreak before Art dela Cruz got the Elite within eight, 59-51.
That proved to be Blackwater’s last hurrah, as the E-Painters secured the game in the fourth and pushed the lead to its highest at 25, 103-78.
Dela Cruz was the lone bright spot for Blackwater, finishing with 20 points, nine rebounds, and three assists.
Nard Pinto tallied 13 markers, four boards, and four dimes, while Ronjay Buenafe had 12 in the conference-ending loss.
RAIN OR SHINE 103 – Washington 15, Tolomia 14, Cruz 12, Chan 12, Belga 12, Ahanmisi 11, Norwood 7, Ponferrada 6, Maiquez 6, Tiu 4, Yap 2, Trollano 2, Robles 0.
BLACKWATER 80 – Dela Cruz 20, Pinto 13, Buenafe 12, Cervantes 9, Sena 8, Belo 6, Miranda 6, Gamalinda 4, Aguilar 2, Pascual 0, Banal 0, Forrester 0.
Quarters: 16-16, 45-36, 68-56, 103-80.
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