Games Tomorrow (Cuneta Astrodome)
2 p.m. – Purefoods vs Barako Bull
4:15 p.m. – Blackwater vs San Miguel
7 p.m. – Globalport vs Meralco
Manila, Philippines – Rain or Shine started out to paint a masterpiece but had to settle for a remarkable work of art in the end.
Left to put together the finishing touches using more deliberate brushstrokes after Barangay Ginebra San Miguel muddled the picture somewhat, the Elasto Painters turned back the Kings, 100-90, last night to advance to the semifinals of the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
With their 9th win in 11 games at the end of their elimination round campaign, the E-Painters will be making their seventh straight semis appearance ahead of three other teams – San Miguel Beer (8-2), Talk ‘N Text (8-3) and Alaska (8-3) – with still a shot at the second outright Final Four berth.
Beau Belga matched a career high 21 points, with 9 coming in the fourth quarter when Ginebra charged within 8 points thrice from a high of 23 late in the third.
“The guys really wanted this win because it’s our best chance to make it to the semis,” said ROS coach Yeng Guiao. “We didn’t want to go the long way; that’s a risky proposition. We’re sick, injured or tired, and we need this break badly.”
Ginebra, which was without injured players Chris Ellis, Jayjay Helterbrand and Josh Urbiztondo, nearly sent Rain or Shine where it didn’t want to go – the two-phase quarterfinals.
Japeth Aguilar had 8 of his 14 points in the last 12 minutes and seldom-used James Forrester hit a big 3-point shot as the Kings battled to within 88-80 on a Joseph Yeo basket with 7:09 to go.
But Belga drained a 3-pointer and his four free throws to deny the return of the Kings.
Paul Lee added 18 points for ROS, 11 in the third quarter when they built an 80-57 spread.
NLEX, meantime, made sure the exit of Manny Pacquiao’s Kia Motors from the PBA Philippine Cup will be devoid of any accompanying bang.
Asi Taulava scored 19 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead NLEX past Kia, 88-80, snapping a three-game losing streak and priming up to face the No. 3 team in the quarterfinal playoffs starting Thursday.
The 10th-ranked Road Warriors (4-7) sent off the expansion Sorento to an early holiday vacation with 10 straight losses after an opening day victory over Blackwater.
Pacquiao, the Kia playing-coach, failed to make it to his team’s last game after his flight from GenSan was cancelled due to Typhoon Ruby.