Games Wednesday (Mall of Asia Arena)
4:15 p.m. – Alaska vs Mahindra
7 p.m. – Rain or Shine vs Meralco
by Jonas Terrado
Manila, Philippines – Jay Washington found the right time to catch fire and defending champion Rain or Shine avoided Blackwater’s upset axe for a 95-88 victory last night to stay unbeaten in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
The 12-year veteran fired back-to-back triples to highlight an 11-1 windup that allowed the Elasto Painters to register their third straight win and tie the idle Meralco Bolts for the lead in the midseason conference.
Incidentally, the two teams meet on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena, with the winner gaining sole possession of the lead.
Rain or Shine trailed 87-84 on a three-pointer by Mac Belo with 3:40 remaining, but Maverick Ahanmisi answered with a three of his own before Washington struck twice from long range which came in between a free throw by Greg Smith.
Washington’s first three broke the tie, 2:46 remaining, to make it 90-87. Smith split his two foul shots with 1:51 to go before Washington converted from the right side for a 93-88 advantage on the ensuing possession.
“I guess the story was the big shot of J-Wash,” said Rain or Shine coach Caloy Garcia of Washington, whose triples were the only points he scored in 14 minutes of action.
While Rain or Shine waxed hot in the closing minutes, Blackwater went cold. With Smith’s free throw as the only source of offense, the Elite missed their final eight shots.
Despite the win, Garcia was far from pleased. The Elasto Painters had to stave off the Elite’s strong play led by Smith, who had 34 points and 20 rebounds.
“They executed. But still, we can’t be happy with the way we’re playing. We can still do better, especially on the execution,” said Garcia.
Import Shawn Taggart produced 26 points and 12 rebounds, Jericho Cruz had 12 points, four rebounds, four assists and two assists, and Ahanmisi likewise scored for Rain or Shine.
Blackwater stayed winless after three games, nearly dealing Rain or Shine its first defeat after keeping the game close for most of the way.
But the Elite couldn’t contain the Elasto Painters’ outside shooting late in the fourth, thus costing them another game.
Meanwhile, PBA Commissioner Chito Narvasa yesterday named the participants for the PBA All-Star Week set April 26 in Cagayan de Oro City, April 28 in Lucena City and April 30 in Cebu City.
Mark Barroca, Scottie Thompson, Peter June Simon, Raffy Reavis, Belo, Jio Jalalon, Cyrus Baguio, RR Garcia, Sonny Thoss, Glenn Khobuntin, Carlo Lastimosa, Baser Amer and Troy Rosario will play for the Mindanao All-Stars of Star coach Chito Victolero against Terrence Romeo, LA Revilla, Mike Tolomia, Roger Pogoy, Kevin Ferrer, June Mar Fajardo, Matthew Wright, Carl Bryan Cruz, Fonso Gotladera, Brad Guinto and Norbert Torres for Gilas Pilipinas in Cagayan de Oro.
Marc Pingris, Japeth Aguilar, Calvin Abueva, Paul Lee, Jayson Castro, Mark Caguioa, LA Tenorio, Ranidel de Ocampo, Stanley Pringle, Alex Cabagnot and Arwind Santos plays for the Leo Austria-mentored Luzon squad against Gilas’ Tolomia, Almond Vosotros, Ed Daquioag, Jonathan Grey, Allein Maliksi, Kevin Ferrer, Cruz, Torres, Guinto, Raymond Almazan and Arnold Van Opstal in Lucena City.
Fajardo leads the Tim Cone-coached Visayas team alongside James Yap, Romeo, Jeff Chan, Chris Ross, Chris Ellis, Joe Devance, Dondon Hontiveros, Asi Taulava, Jericho Cruz and Aldrech Ramos opposite Castro, Jalalon, Revilla, Pogoy, Maliksi, Von Pessumal, Belo, Rosario, Abueva, Almazan and Aguilar for Gilas.
RAIN OR SHINE 95 – Taggart 26, Ahanmisi 12, Cruz 12, Yap 11, Belga 9, Chan 8, Tiu 8, Washington 6, Norwood 2, Ponferrada 1, Almazan 0.
BLACKWATER 88 – Smith 34, Cervantes 12, Pascual 10, Belo 7, Buenafe 7, Pinto 7, Sena 6, Sumang 3, Aguilar 2, DiGregorio 0, Forrester 0, Gamalinda 0, Miranda 0.
Quarters: 26-29; 44-47; 68-70; 95-88.