by Jonas Terrado
Games Wednesday (Mall of Asia Arena)
4:30 p.m. — Columbian vs Alaska
7 p.m. — San Miguel vs Blackwater
Rain or Shine feasted on injury-riddled Alaska behind a balanced scoring attack and stingy defending to register an 85-72 victory Sunday night and tighten its grip on second spot in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.
All but one of the 14 players inserted by coach Caloy Garcia hit the scoring column while limiting the shorthanded Aces to just 29-percent shooting to pick up their fourth win in five games.
Sophomore guard Rey Nambatac topscored with 12 points, Beau Belga had 11 points, six rebounds and five assists, Raymond Almazan scored 10 points and Maverick Ahanmisi added eight points, 14 rebounds for Rain or Shine.
“It’s a good win for us, we’re just lucky that Alaska was a little bit shorthanded,” said Garcia, noting numerous absence by Alaska’s key players.
The Aces played sans Vic Manuel, Jvee Casio, Kevin Racal and Simon Enciso due to injuries for their season debut.
The Elasto Painters moved within striking distance of the unbeaten Phoenix Pulse Fuel Masters for the lead in the tournament, but Garcia warned that there’s still plenty of games left to be played.
“We’re in good shape, but it’s still a long way,” he said.
Jeron Teng scored 15 points despite a 5-of-18 shooting, Jake Pascual posted 12 points and nine rebounds and Chris Banchero 11 points and six assists but the Aces were walloped in their first game since losing to the Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok in the Governors’ Cup Finals last December.
Alaska also played with coach Alex Compton calling the shots after it was initially thought that assistant Jeff Cariaso will handle the reins.
Compton arrived from the United States Saturday evening.
The coaching situation came after rumors swirled in late January that Compton will be replaced by Cariaso, a move that was immediately denied by team owner Wilfred Uytengsu.
Rain or Shine 85 – Nambatac 12, Belga 11, Almazan 10, Yap 9, Ahanmisi 8, Torres 7, Mocon 5, Norwood 5, Daquioag 4, Maiquez 4, Ponferada 4, Rosales 3, Borboran 3, Onwubere 0.
Alaska 72 – Teng 15, Pascual 12, Banchero 11, Galliguez 9, Exciminiano 6, Thoss 6, Ayaay 6, Baclao 4, Cruz 2, Potts 1, Babilonia 0.
Quarters: 25-14, 48-30, 64-51, 85-72.