Rain or Shine overcame a bruising battle with Magnolia to claim a 75-72 victory that ended a two-game skid in the PBA Philippine Cup Friday, Sept. 10 at the Don Honorio Ventura State University in Bacolor, Pampanga.
Crucial baskets by rookie Santi Santillan, Beau Belga and Norbert Torres in the homestretch coupled with stops on the other end enabled the Elasto Painters to overcome the Hotshots in a tight affair that had nine ties and 11 lead changes.
Javee Mocon scored 19 points while Santillan had 14 points and five rebounds, showing no fear in his matchup against the equally-physical Calvin Abueva as ROS improved to 5-4 after starting the Bacolor stint with losses to Phoenix Super LPG and defending champion Barangay Ginebra.
James Yap also provided some spark for Rain or Shine by scoring 14 points on 6-of-12 shooting off the bench.
“I was asked today if there was a sense of panic in our team, and I said ‘It’s not in our culture,’” said ROS coach Chris Gavina. “Fear to us is a mean to face everything and rise. In practice, guys really hold each other accountable.
“It comes down to the little details, especially in big games like this against a Magnolia team that’s playing extremely well. A margin of error against a team like that is very minimal,” added Gavina.
Magnolia dropped to 6-3 after losing the match that saw Mark Barroca needing treatment after sustaining a cut above his left eye when he was inadvertently elbowed by Abueva. Barroca eventually returned to play heavy minutes in the second half.
Abueva escaped any serious injury at the end of the second quarter when Santillan accidentally stepped on his head after converting a reverse layup at the buzzer for a 31-28 halftime lead for Rain or Shine.
Santillan’s three-point play gave Rain or Shine the lead for good at 70-68 with 2:20 remaining. A bank shot by Belga and Torres made it a four-point spread twice at 72-68 and 74-70.
Magnolia reduced the margin in half, 74-72, on Barroca’s runner and had a chance to take the lead after a stop, but Paul Lee muffed an open three-point attempt.
Mocon was fouled but made just one of two foul shots, giving the Hotshots another opportunity. The Hotshots found Jerrick Ahanmisi open at the left elbow, but the rookie failed to convert the game-tying shot.
Sangalang finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds while Abueva registered his fifth double-double of the conference after posting 12 points and 13 rebounds for Magnolia.
RAIN OR SHINE 75 — Mocon 19, Santillan 14, Yap 14, Nambatac 8, Caracut 7, Torres 4, Belga 2, Asistio 2, Norwood 2, Borboran 2, Ponferada 1.
MAGNOLIA 72 — Sangalang 21, Abueva 12, Lee 11, Barroca 11, Dela Rosa 7, Brill 3, Melton 3, Reavis 2, Jalalon 2, Dionisio 0, Corpuz 0, Ahanmisi 0.
Quarters: 16-13, 31-28, 51-53, 75-72.