MANILA – Rain or Shine Elasto Painters gave shorthanded Alaska Aces a rude welcome in the 2019 Honda PBA Philippine Cup with an 85-72 beatdown last night at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Rey Nambatac top-scored with 12 points, while Beau Belga and Raymond Almazan contributed 11 and 10 points, respectively, for the Painters, which moved up to second place with 4-1 win-loss card.
From a seesaw battle early in the opening quarter, the Painters shattered the 12-all deadlock with conversions from Dexter Maiquez, Almazan and Nambatac for a 25-14 lead.
The lead widened to 38-22 early in the second on five straight points from Belga. The Aces rallied to within 11 but the Painters pulled away anew behind Norbert Torres and Nambatac for a 55-33 edge.
The Aces responded with a rally to come to as close as 51-64 in the third canto but the Painters quickly restored order with baskets from Belga and James Yap for an 85-67 advantage.
“It’s a good win for us,” said Painters head coach Carlos Garcia said afterwards. “We’re lucky that Alaska also didn’t come up with a full line-up, and at the same time, first game jitters lang siguro sa kanila ‘yan, na they’re trying to run their system.”
Jeron Teng had 15 points, while Jake Pascual added 12 markers for the debuting Aces, which were decimated by injuries to veterans Vic Manuel, Simon Enciso, Jvee Casio and Kevin Racal.
In the second game, Roger Pogoy came up with timely conversions in the extension period as the TNT KaTropa cruised to an 80-75 victory over the debuting Magnolia Hotshots.
With the score tied at 74-all, KaTropa surged to a 77-74 advantage after a top of the key triple from Pogoy. He then scored another layup with under a minute left in the game to seal the victory./PN