by Jonas Terrado
New import Carl Montgomery didn’t disappoint in his debut as Rain or Shine downed slumping Magnolia, 86-82, in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Montgomery finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds after replacing the injured Denzel Bowles as the Elasto Painters won back-to-back games to tie the Hotshots for fifth place at 5-5.
Rain or Shine lost Bowles after injuring his left knee in the first half of Saturday’s win over Alaska but didn’t take long for them to find a replacement in Montgomery, who was coming off a stint in Malaysia.
And Montgomery proved to be a worthy replacement as he scored eight in the third quarter after a slow start to put the Elasto Painters on top after a 41-35 halftime lead.
Montgomery also made key stops in the final minutes, blocking a Jio Jalalon layup with Rain or Shine’s lead reduced from 81-69 early in the fourth to 86-82.
“He did well especially in the second half,” said Rain or Shine coach Caloy Garcia.
Beau Belga scored a conference-high 22 points and Ed Daquioag added 14 for the Elasto Painters, who are aiming to beat the San Miguel Beermen in Saturday’s out-of-town game in Cagayan de Oro City.
Ian Sangalang posted 24 points and eight rebounds and import James Farr made 19 points and 23 rebounds but Magnolia was again denied of a quarterfinals berth after dropping its third straight game.
Magnolia now must beat league-leading TNT KaTropa on July 17 to cement its place in the quarters and avoid complications as a loss could possibly put the Hotshots in danger.
RAIN OR SHINE 86 — Belga 22; Montgomery 20, Daquioag 14, Rosales 7, Mocon 7, Norwood 5, Nambatac 5, Ponferada 3, Torres 2, Borboran 1.
MAGNOLIA 82 — Sangalang 24, Farr 19, Barroca 14, Lee 9, Jalalon 7, Dela Rosa 6, Herndon 3, Melton 0, Pingris 0, Brondial 0.
Quarters: 15-22; 35-41; 64-61; 86-82.