by Waylon Galvez
Games Friday (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
4:15 p.m. – Meralco vs Phoenix
7 p.m. – Blackwater vs NLEX
New-look Rain or Shine hardly missed the services of key players, including two currently playing with Gilas Pilipinas, as it snapped a two-game losing skid with a 94-86 win over Kia Picanto in the PBA Governors’ Cup last night at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
With forward Gabe Norwood and center Raymond Almazan representing Gilas Pilipinas in the FIBA Asia Cup in Lebanon, and forward Anthony Jay Washington – out with a leg injury – missing the game, other players of the Elasto Painters stepped up.
New import J’Nathan Bullock had 20 points and 10 rebounds in his debut, while Chris Tiu and Beau Belga contributed 13 and 12 points, respectively, coming off the bench, as the Elasto Painters won after a busy week wheeling and dealing.
Rain or Shine improved to an even 2-2 record after trading long-time mainstay Jeff Chan to Phoenix for Mark Borboran and a 2020 second round pick, acquiring Ed Daquioag from Meralco in exchange for fellow rookie Mike Tolomia and Bullock replacing injured JD Weatherspoon.
“It’s good that we won the game, we’re missing three players,” said Rain or Shine coach Caloy Garcia. “We played sloppy in the second half, we turned the ball over several times. We’re also working on our chemistry with our (new) import.”
“We know he can shoot from outside, he’s shooting well in practice. Maybe he’s a little tired. But Chris played with an up tempo offense, Beau also played well, and we also got quality minutes from the two new players,” added Garcia.
Rain or Shine led by as many as 17 points, 76-59, on a three-point shot by new recruit Mark Borboran, but Kia rallied back behind import Markeith Cummings, who scored 30 points.
A layup by Cummings cut the deficit to 87-82 with 2:12 left, but after a pair of foul shots by Tiu and missed jump shot by Kia’s Reden Celda, Bullock buried a jump shot from the right corner for a 91-82 advantage with 1:16 left.
RAIN OR SHINE 94 – Bullock 20, Tiu 13, Belga 12, Daquioag 8, Ponferada 7, Trollano 6, Maiquez 6, Yap 5, Borboran 5, King 5, Cruz 4, Ahanmisi 3.
KIA 86 – Cummings 30, Celda 15, Revilla 11, Corpuz 10, Deutchman 10, Nimes 3, Khobuntin 3, Yee 2, Ballesteros 2, Paniamogan 0, Galanza 0, Caperal 0, Jaime 0.
Quarters: 21-17; 44-36; 71-59; 94-86.