Spearheaded by Beau Belga and Javee Mocon, Rain or Shine trampled on Meralco, 85-72, to wrest the solo lead in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup on Saturday, July 24 at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
Veteran big man Belga pumped in a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds while third-year forward Mocon fired 18 markers to fuel a balanced assault as the Elasto Painters grabbed their third win in a row for the No. 1 spot.
Mocon also tallied six boards and six assists even as Rey Nambatac and Norbert Torres scored 11 points apiece for the streaking RoS.
Five other E-Painters chipped in at least two points in the lopsided victory that saw them topple a 16-6 start by the Bolts before leading by as high as 21 points, 82-63, late in the fourth quarter.
“I’m really grateful na our best players like Beau, Gabe (Norwood), Javee, Rey, they have set the standard from day one,” said Rain or Shine head coach Chris Gavina.
Gavina was also elated to see their offseason preparations as well as his players’ commitment pay off this early in the all-Filipino conference.
“Honestly, our expectations were just like any other team, it’s extremely high. It just came down to our preparations and the commitment of the players,” said the 42-year-old mentor.
Chris Newsome had 13 points, six assists and five rebounds while Raymond Almazan had 10 markers and six boards in the loss for the Bolts, who suffered their first defeat after a two-win start.
It was a dismal result for the side of coach Norman Black, whose wards took down San Miguel, 93-87, in their previous outing.
RAIN OR SHINE 85 – Mocon 18, Belga 17, Torres 11, Nambatac 11, Wong 8, Borboran 7, Caracut 6, Norwood 5, Ponferada 2, Guinto 0, Santillan 0, Tolentino 0
MERALCO 72 – Newsome 13, Almazan 10, Hodge 9, Hugnatan 9, Quinto 7, Pinto 6, Belo 4, Maliksi 3, Black 4, Jose 2, Cañete 2, Jackson 1, Pasaol 0
Quarters : 13-18, 42-35, 68-55, 85-72