MANILA---Coach Yeng Guiao and his Rain Or Shine Elasto Painters never thought it would be this easy.
The Elasto Painters simply pounced on the import-less Alaska Aces last night, running away with a 113-87 win to end a three-game slump in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.
Hassan Adams had 22 points and Beau Belga had a field day with 20 markers and 10 assists as the Elasto Painters kept their playoff bid alive at 4-3 while dashing the hopes of the Aces (5-3) to nail the other automatic best-of-five semifinal spot.
Alaska sorely missed LD Williams, who served his one-game suspension on top of a P20,000 fine after he was thrown out for swinging his elbow and hitting Meralco’s Mac Cardona in the face during the opening minutes of their game last week.
Rain Or Shine’s luck also became a curse for Powerade (2-6), which joined Meralco (2-6) and San Miguel Beer (1-7) in the the sidelines.
“We expected a hard game against Alaska even without its import,” said Guiao, noting that the Aces had escaped with a 104-101 win over the Meralco Bolts in overtime through the heroics of LA Tenorio and Joe Devance.
But Gabe Norwood, Jeffrei Chan and Belga helped the Elasto Painters erect a 29-20 lead and Rain or Shine increased the advantage to 14 points going into the last 10 minutes.
Devance came in fighting form and finished with 19 points but Tenorio, who exploded for 33 second-half points against the Bolts, managed just four points on two of 11 shooting.
“I’m not sure what the win means,” said Guiao, whose team is fighting for either fifth or sixth in the six-team playoffs. “But I know it gave us better chances to be in the playoffs.”
In the other game, Talk N Text encountered stiff resistance before
sending B-Meg Derby Ace to its knees, 107-102, to clinch the other
outright best-of-five semifinal berth.
Paul Harris was all over the floor and finished with 37 points and 13 rebounds but the Tropang Texters still had to go through exasperating moments before downing the Llamados, who lost import Courtney Beasley in the first quarter.
Beastley was ejected just 27 seconds after the opening tip for
placing his foot on Harvey Carey's landing spot.
"I must say that I'm relieved that we won and got into the semis.
But I was really disappointed with the effort," said TNT coach Chot Reyes. "We really messed up in this game big-time."
Just the same, the Tropang Texters chalked up their seventh win and tied Smart Gilas (7-1) on top.
The defeat of the Llamados, who wrapped up the eliminations with a
4-5 record, have provided Barangay Ginebra, the Elasto Painters and
the Aces a trouble-free entry into the playoffs.
Kerby Raymundo became the 33rd player in league history to grab 2,000 defensive rebounds last night, barely a week after scoring a total of 5,000 points in his career.
With Smart Gilas and the Tropang Texters already in the semis, the last final playoff seat will be disputed by the Llamados and the Air21 Express.
The top two teams after the elimination round advance to the semifinals while the bottom four dispute the two other semis berth in the quarterfinals.
RAIN OR SHINE 113—Adams 22, Belga 20, Norwood 13, Chan 12, Kramer 11, Cruz
8, Vanlandingham 6, Rodriguez 6, Buenafe 6, Jazul 3, Arana 3, Ferriols 2, Tang 1, Uyloan 0
ALASKA 97—De Vance 19, Dela Cruz 17, Borboran 15, Thoss 10, Baguio 10, Custodio 7, Cablay 6, Eman 5, Tenorio 4, Bugia 4.
Quarters: 29-20, 53-46, 81-67, 113-97