FORTIFY WIN-LOSS RECORD AHEAD OF SEMIS
Games Wednesday (Araneta)
5:15 p.m. — Air21 vs Meralco
7:30 p.m. — Barako Bull vs Talk ‘N Text
Rain or Shine rode on the momentum of a telling second quarter run that set the tone for a 100-90 domination of Barako Bull last night as the Elasto Painters continued to build on a formidable win-loss record which they would carry over into the semifinal round of the Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
JR Quinahan, Paul Lee and Jeff Chan led that spirited assault by the Elasto Painters from a slim 34-31 lead, burying their foes in an 18-4 run that expanded the advantage to 17, 52-35, with 2:13 left in the second period.
That was all the Elasto Painters needed in creating the needed cushion against the listless Energy who could do no better than come closest at 87-96 when the outcome was all but decided in favor of Rain or Shine.
Thus, the Elasto Painters romped off to their sixth win in seven games and they have two assignments left to make the record all the more formidable when they carry it over to the semis. Under the tournament format, six of the 10 teams advance to the next phase where they will try to build on their respective records in a mad dash for the Finals.
The Elasto Painters are also hoping to take the solo lead with erstwhile fellow pacesetter B-Meg (5-1) still being tested by Petron (3-3) as of press time.
The Energy saw a two-game winning streak snapped and took their third loss against as many wins. They fell into a tie with Barangay Ginebra and the Boosters at the middle of the standings.
And for Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao, early preparations for this tournament are paying good dividends.
“I was expecting we will play well in this Conference. We prepared early, we had Jamelle (Cornley) come here early for acclimatization. It’s the way to do this. Prepare early,” said Guiao as Rain or Shine is going on its best start yet in recent memory.
Chan, who hit three triples in that second quarter assault, went on to lead the Elasto Painters with 19 points and, in what Guiao himself acknowledged as a balanced attack, Cornley added 18, Gabe Norwood 15 and Jireh Ibanes 11.
“We got points from the locals that did not bother Jamelle about scoring. We did a good job closing out the quarters and we were able to protect the lead,” Guiao noted.
Most telling for the Energy was the drastic slump in the game of import LeRoy Hickerson who led them to two straight wins since arriving to replace Jamine Peterson by averaging 35 points per game. But he was a far-cry from that explosive reinforcement last night as he could only score two points in that pivotal second quarter to finish with 24 points — nine of which came in the last three minutes of the game when his point production no longer mattered.
“Gabe (Norwood) and Jireh (Ibanes) did a good job on Hickerson. We had to take risks rather than have him score 35 (points) again,” Guiao said.
And with Hickerson locked down, Barako Bull’s usually reliable locals were nowhere in sight as only Doug Kramer and Leo Najorda could contribute substantially with 16 and 12 points, respectively. The Energy’s acknowledged pointmen Willie Miller, Ronald Tubid and Mick Pennisi struggled all game long and could only combine for 13 points.