By: Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
RAIN or Shine Elasto Painters upset third-seed Blackwater Elite in a cardiac slugfest, 85-83, in the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinals on July 25, 2019.
Both teams went nipping and tucking the whole game, with coaches countering each other’s offensive and defensive sets.
Blackwater punished the post most of the time in the first half, as Greg Smith powered his way through Rain or Shine’s defense. He converted all three attempts from the field in the first two quarters to give his team a 45-38 lead at the half.
The second half saw both teams turn things up with their crazy runs.
In the 1:12 mark of the final frame, Rain or Shine led by 5 but Mac Belo nailed a clutch trey, cutting the deficit to 2.
Gabe Norwood sank a free throw with 40 seconds left in the game to cut the lead to 3.
Off a timeout, coach Aris Dimaunahan drew a pick and pop decoy play for Belo, freeing him up at the top of the key to hit a dagger three and tie the game at 83.
With 26 second left in the ball game, Game 1 hero Rey Nambatac once again delivered as he pulled off a knee-bending crossover to slip past Roy Sumang and hit a pull up jumper to give Rain or Shine the lead and the game, 85-83.
Nambatac finished the thriller with 21 big points, 4 boards, and 4 steals, grabbing best player of the game honors.
Despite the Elasto Painters’ banged up roster, missing key guys in Ed Daquiaog, James Yap, and Maverick Ahanmisi, the team eventually overcame Elite’s firepower and size.
Rain or Shine will face powerhouse San Miguel Beermen in the semifinals.
Rain or Shine 85 – Nambatac 21, Mocon 15, Montgomery 14, Belga 10, Norwood 7, Ponferada 6
Blackwater 83 – Parks 16, Belo 16, Smith 15, Maliksi 14, Cortez 10, Digregorio 5, Desiderio 3