(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
4:15 p.m. -- Meralco vs. Phoenix
7 p.m. -- NLEX vs. Blackwater
A RETOOLED Rain or Shine displayed impressive game last night as it whipped Kia Picanto, 94-86 and snapped its losing skid in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Elasto Painters – who recently let go of Jeff Chan and rookie guard Mike Tolomia in exchange for Mark Borboran and Ed Daquioag in trades with Phoenix and Meralco – found their groove almost immediately to improve to a 2-2 win-loss record.
The Picanto’s woes, meantime, still continue as they suffered their sixth straight loss in the season-ending conference.
Rain or Shine also paraded its new import, J’Nathan Bullock -- who replaced the ineffective JD Weatherspoon -- and made his presence felt in the game.
Bullock dished out a solid double-double debut of 20 points and 10 rebounds while adding two steals for the Painters.
On the locals’ side, Chris Tiu led the charge for Rain or Shine with 13 points, eight assists and five rebounds. He was later named best player of the game.
“They only played one week together, but I think mabilis naman sila naka-pick up,” Elasto Painters coach Caloy Garcia said after the game.
Daquioag squeezed the most of his 10 minutes and 30 seconds on the floor as he poured in eight points after making all his three shots, along with two boards, while Borboran contributed five points, five boards, one assist, one block, and zero turnover in almost 24 minutes.
Beau Belga was the other Rain or Shine player in double figures, finishing with 12 points along with three boards and one assist in less than 13 minutes of play as the veteran enforcer got ejected halfway through the third quarter following a flagrant foul on Jason Ballesteros.
Markeith Cummings led the Picanto with a game-high 30 points, including two on a jumper that pulled Kia to within five points, 87-82, with a little less than two minutes remaining in the game, although that was the closest they got.
Meanwhile, Phoenix has tapped the services of a standby import in Brandon Brown in case Eugene Phelps’ foot injury doesn’t heal in time for the team’s matchup on Friday against Meralco.
Phelps has been wearing a protective boot on his left foot this week to recover from a bone bruise that he has been nursing even before the Fuel Masters’ last game last Sunday, a 92-86 loss to Blackwater.
That prompted the Fuel Masters to bring in what coach Ariel Vanguardia called an “insurance” import in the 32-year-old Brown, a journeyman forward who last played in Turkey.
“We don’t know if Eugene will make it in time,” Vanguardia said on Saturday after their tune-up game against La Salle at Upper Deck gym. “We like Eugene to completely heal, kasi medyo pinilit maglaro, ‘di na-complete yung healing.”
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 Picanto (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.
Quarterscores: 21-17, 44-36, 71-59, 94-86.