By JONAS TERRADO
(DHVSU Gym, Bacolor)
2 p.m. – Terrafirma vs NorthPort
4:35 p.m. — Blackwater vs Phoenix
Rain or Shine overcame a bruising battle with Magnolia to claim an inspiring 75-72 victory that ended a two-game skid yesterday in the PBA Philippine Cup 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 by huge 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.
“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.”
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 later 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.
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.
Meanwhile, NorthPort guns for a second straight win when it battles Terrafirma in the opening game of today’s doubleheader at 2 p.m.
The Batang Pier are coming off a 98-73 rout of the Blackwater Bossing two days ago despite failing to see action in the first week of the restart due to health and safety protocols.
Team manager Bonnie Tan also called the shots for NorthPort while coach Pido Jarencio and his staff are under quarantine.
Robert Bolick, Greg Slaughter, Sean Anthony, Kevin Ferrer and rookie Jamie Malonzo will be tasked heavily in NorthPort’s quest to improve its record to an even 3-3 card against Terrafirma, currently in a share of eighth spot at 3-5.
Terrafirma is hoping to get back on track after its three-game winning streak was halted by Phoenix, 96-84, also last Sept. 9.
Phoenix equaled Terrafirma’s record with that victory and will try to boost its own playoff bid at 4:35 p.m. against Blackwater.
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.