Rain or Shine secured the eighth and final quarterfinals berth Tuesday night after holding off TNT, 80-74, in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center.
The Elasto Painters got the needed breaks down the stretch to take down the Tropang Giga and complete the quarterfinal cast by improving to six wins and four defeats.
That also ended the playoff hopes of the NLEX Road Warriors, who have a 4-6 record with one game to play.
Coach Caloy Garcia said Rain or Shine played with a playoff-like mentality which enabled them to perform well against a TNT side already in the quarters and possibly assured of a twice-to-beat advantage.
“Sabi ko nga sa kanila we have to grab the opportunity and we have to be hungrier than them,” said Garcia, whose team can still sneak a twice-to-beat bonus in its final elims match against Phoenix Super LPG on Wednesday evening.
Perhaps the hungriest was veteran James Yap who came back after being rested due to an injured calf against Blackwater by firing all 16 points in the first half.
Yap hit three triples that enabled him to tie Ronnie Magsanoc for third all-time with 1,171.
Rain or Shine led, 50-40, in the third but saw TNT make its way back with Ray Parks Jr. scoring all of his 11 points in the second half, including a three-pointer that tied things up at 72-all with over two minutes remaining.
TNT evened the score anew at 74-all on Poy Erram’s basket off a foul by Beau Belga with 58 seconds left, subsequently missing the bonus free throw.
Rain or Shine got the lead back when Norbert Torres split two foul shots before making it 77-74 when Kris Rosales was all alone for the layup off an outlet pass by Gabe Norwood.
The Elasto Painters got the ball back when Rosario was whistled for an offensive foul for bumping Rosales at the foul line, 23 ticks to go.
Mocon had 16 points and 10 rebounds, Belga scored 12 and Norwood produced nine points and five rebounds to become the 55th local ever to grab 3,000 career boards.
Rosario and Erram finished with 18 and 14 points but TNT finished the elims at 7-4, still uncertain of the twice-to-beat berth.
Jayson Castro didn’t play for the Tropang Giga despite being in uniform for the said contest.
RAIN OR SHINE 80 — Yap 16, Mocon 16, Belga 12, Norwood 9, Ponferada 5, Torres 4, Onwubere 1, Arana 1, Wong 0, Nambatac 0, Tolentino 0.
TNT 74 — Rosario 18, Erram 14, Parks 11, Pogoy 9, Vosotros 6, Washington 4, Semerad 3, De Leon 0, Montalbo 0, Flores 0.
Quarters: 13-19, 43-38, 67-57, 80-74.