by Jonas Terrado
Game Monday (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
7 p.m. – San Miguel vs Phoenix Pulse
(San Miguel leads series 1-0)
Game Tuesday (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
7 p.m. – Rain or Shine vs Magnolia
(Rain or Shine leads series 2-0)
Rain or Shine found a different spark plug in Ed Daquioag and repeated over Magnolia, 93-80, to gain a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Daquioag scored 17 of his 19 points in the second and third quarters where the Elasto Painters turned the game into a blowout behind their stellar defense and consistent outside shooting that frustrated the Hotshots.
Norbert Torres also had a hand in the win by scoring all of his 16 points in the first half even as Rey Nambatac, Kris Rosales and Mark Borboran continued their steady plays since the series began last Friday.
Nambatac produced 12 points while Rosales chipped in six points and four assists and Mark Borboran came through with six points.
The Elasto Painters, who highlighted their stirring performance with 16 threes, moved two wins shy of advancing to their first finals appearance since winning the 2016 Commissioner’s Cup title.
Coach Caloy Garcia praised his team for rising to the challenge and having different players step up and lead the way.
“It’s about trusting each other,” Garcia said. “If you noticed some of our players during the eliminations, we rarely used them but we always told them to be ready.”
Their production has made an afterthought James Yap’s struggles. Yap finished with eight points on 3-of-9 shooting but he was able to pass Dondon Hontiveros for fourth on the league’s all-time three-pointer list.
Robbie Herndon and Ian Sangalang scored 13 points each and Paul Lee had 12 but Magnolia found it difficult to match up against Rain or Shine with its other main players like Mark Barroca and Jio Jalalon being non-existent.
Hotshots coach Chito Victolero went deep to his bench in hopes of seeing someone provide the spark that could prevent them from slipping into a dreaded 0-3 hole. He found none.
Rain or Shine 93 – Daquioag 19, Torres 16, Nambatac 12, Norwood 10, Yap 8, Mocon 7, Rosales 6, Borboran 6, Ponferada 3, Alejandro 3, Maiquez 2, Belga 1, Onwubere 0.
Magnolia 80 – Sangalang 13, Herndon 13, Lee 12, Calisaan 10, Dela Rosa 7, Melton 5, Brondial 4, Ramos 3, Abundo 3, Reavis 2, Barroca 2, Gamalinda 2, Pascual 2, Jalalon 2.
Quarters: 19-18, 50-41, 73-57, 93-80.