by Waylon Galvez
ANTIPOLO CITY — Defending champion Rain or Shine grabbed the early lead in the season-ending PBA Governors’ Cup after an impressive 94-74 victory over newcomer Globalport last night at the Ynares Sports Center here.
Import Arizona Reid led the Elasto Painters with 27 points with 17 rebounds, Ryan Araña added 21 points while last season’s Rookie of the Year Paul Lee contributed 15 points.
The win improved Rain or Shine’s record at 2-0, following its come-from-behind victory opposite San Mig Coffee when the tournament opened last Wednesday.
“Malaking bagay sa short conference format yung 2-0,” said Rain of Shine mentor Yeng Guiao. “The best chance you get to go to next round is to win early.”
“Masaya na ako kay Reid, he’s working hard on the boards, he shot better now and he’s defending well. I am not looking anything more, I am just looking for the guys to blend well.”
The Painters won even as Guiao gave Gilas Pilipinas players Gabe Norwood and Jeff Chan limited minutes.
Chan had four points in 18 minutes while Norwood failed to score in five minutes.
“We’re trying to get Gabe and Jeff back into their regular rhythm, gaganda pa yung laro namin pag nakabalik na sila,” said Guiao as his team shot 43 percent from the field as compared to Globalport’s 31 percent shooting performance.
Globalport import Markeith Cummings led the team with 23 points and 14 boards. Gilas player Gary David played but scored just three points. The Batang Pier now sport a 1-1 card.
In the other game, Air21 downed San Mig Coffee, 93-82.
Meanwhile, LA Tenorio and Japeth Aguilar hope to bring the same energy from their stints with Gilas Pilipinas as Barangay Ginebra opens its own campaign today at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The wily guard Tenorio and the high-leaping forward Aguilar were part of the silver medal winning national team in the recently-concluded FIBA Asia Championship, which earned a ticket in next year’s World Cup in Spain.
Now, their focus shifts with the Kings.
The 6-foot-9 Aguilar will actually make his Ginebra debut when they play SMC sister-team Petron Blaze at 6:30 p.m., while Meralco shoots for a share of the early lead when it tackles Barako Bull in the curtain raiser at 4:15 p.m.
Aguilar was obtained by Ginebra from Globalport in a four-team trade last month while Gilas was training for the Asian Championship.
“Of course I’m excited to play for Ginebra,” said Aguilar, whose father Peter played for the same squad back in 1989. “It’s actually a dream come true for me since my dad played for this team. Hope I can help and contribute for the team to win.”
Aguilar is coming off an impressive stint with the national team, where he was a revelation during the FIBA Asia cagefest by averaging nearly 12 points and eight rebounds per game while providing the rim rattling dunks for the highlight reels.
The Kings will be facing the Boosters, who are determined to rebound from an 89-83 defeat to the Meralco Bolts last Friday despite getting 24 points and 12 rebounds from import Elijah Millsap, and give new coach Gee Abanilla his first win as a PBA coach.