RAIN OR SHINE REPEATS OVER AIR21
ONCE again, Rain or Shine import Bruno Sundov got into foul trouble.
That didn’t deter the Elasto Painters any as the locals ably stepped up and pointed the team to a 94-83 repeat win over Air21 Sunday and into a share of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup lead at the MOA Arena.
Ryan Arana and Jeff Chan were the front acts on the offensive end after combining for 17 of the team’s 31 points while Beau Belga anchored the excellent defense on Michael Dunigan in helping turn things around for the Elasto Painters in the decisive fourth quarter.
In the end, Rain or Shine managed to buck another foul-plagued outing by Sundov, fashion a more comfortable decision than its 99-97 escape the first time they met last Feb. 22 and improve its overall win-loss record to 8-3 that tied it with idle Alaska.
After incurring his fifth foul at the 4:15 mark of the third period and re-entering the game only in the last 4:33 Sundov still wound up with 23 points and 11 rebounds to lead the E-Painters with Chan not too far behind with 16 points and Arana 13.
Belga more than made up for his measly two-point game with seven rebounds and his body-up job on Dunigan that limited the latter to just three points in the final period.
All those combined to spark and fuel Rain or Shine’s 19-4 charge to start off the final canto and give the E-Painters the upper hand they even stretched to 15 points twice, the last at 92-77, going into the game’s last 2:02.
“I was a little worried when Bruno fell into the same pattern of fouling early, forcing us to keep him in the bench for a long period of time,” admitted Rain or Shine head coach Yeng Guiao.
“But the locals held their own and we were able to defend their import just by helping each other out. I think that was the key in the absence of Bruno. So by the time Bruno came back I thought the game was in control already.”
Air21 totally failed to take advantage of Sundov’s forced sidelining and suffered a sixth loss in 11 games that dropped it from a share of fourth to eighth spot.
Despite his fourth quarter-production Dunigan still put up game-highs of 34 points and 15 rebounds.
Nino Canaleta was the lone other Express in double digits with 12 points as the team as a whole was outscored by 12 in the fourth.
That was a big letdown for the same Air21 team that seemed to be in full control after posting as much as a 60-53 lead and went into the game still holding on to a 64-63 edge.
“It was the key stretch,” said Guiao. “During the time when they had the lead over us, we had to pull through and I give credit to the guys for holding their own, staying poised in that stretch.
“Now it’s a tie for first and we’re looking forward to playing Alaska on Friday for the solo lead.” (NC)
RAIN OR SHINE 94 – Sundov 23, Chan 16, Arana 13, Tiu 8, Cruz 8, Rodriguez 8, Lee 7, Quinahan 5, Norwood 2, Belga 2, Ibanes 2, Matias 0, Jaime 0, Tang 0.
AIR21 83 – Dunigan 34, Canaleta 12, Menor 7, Omolon 7, Cortez 6, Arboleda 5, Wilson 4, Ritualo 4, Sena 2, Isip 2, Baclao 0, Custodio 0.
Quarterscores: 18-18, 45-38, 63-64, 94-83
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