Rain or Shine returned to its winning ways while Shopinas.com’s losing woes continued.
The Elasto Painters snapped a four-game slide with a much-needed 88-81 victory over the Clickers in a highly-physical contest marred by the ejection of two players in the 2011-12 PBA Philippine Cup Sunday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
Rain or Shine got the win even after losing top rookie Paul Lee, who did not return after being hit by Ogie Menor’s knee in the shin area seconds after entering the game.
“Good news to hear that Paul Lee, after the check up and x-ray, is not really injured,” said Elasto Painters head coach Yeng Guiao after the match.
“It’s a pity that guys like Menor are able to wreak havoc on players just trying to play a good game. He’s been doing that to players several times and he’s really a danger in this league,” added Guiao, who was thrown out of the first game between the two teams for hitting Menor in the back.
Jeff Chan and Ryan Arana filled the gap vacated by Lee as they combined for 26 points with latter collaring 11 rebounds.
The Clickers, meanwhile, are now tied with the 1982 Great Taste team and the 1984 Countryfair squad for the all-time longest losing streak in league history at 13 games.
They are in danger of surpassing that infamous record as they collide with the streaking B-MEG on Thursday.
Jojo Duncil had 23 points while RJ Jazul chipped in 17 to lead Shopinas, which started the game on a 9-0. But just like in most of their games, the Clickers lost steam in the next three quarters.
After TY Tang buried a three-pointer from the top of the key to give the Elasto Painters a 69-59 lead, Paolo Hubalde engineered an 11-4 run to close the gap to 73-70 with 6:21 remaining in the game.
But Arana and Ronnie Matias led a decisive 10-2 surge to put the game out of reach, 83-72, with 2:31 left in the game.
Just like in their first encounter, the game started with tempers flaring.
Arana was called for a flagrant foul penalty 1 on Menor after a rebound play. Menor was also given a technical foul.
Clickers center Homer Se was ejected after two technical fouls while Rain or Shine big man JR Quinahan was also tossed out for his flagrant foul 2 on Menor late in the third period.
The win was crucial for Rain or Shine as it now improved its win loss mark to 8-5. The Elasto Painters are still in the hunt for one of the top two slot, which comes with it a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals.
“We’re still in contention. We’re going to prepare for the playoffs and as long as we bring back our confidence, we can play better,” said Guiao.
RAIN OR SHINE 88 – Chan 14, Arana 12, Quinahan 12, Matias 9, Norwood 9, Cruz 7, Tang 7, Belga 7, Rodriguez 7, Buenafe 4, Lee 0, Ibanes 0.
SHOPINAS.COM 81 – Duncil 23, Jazul 17, Sena 11, Hubalde 9, Espiritu 7, Ritualo 6, Menor 4, Sison 2, Daa 2, Escobal 0, Aquino 0, Se 0.
Quarters: 19-27, 41-32, 61-55, 88-81