Painters unplug Bolts for solo lead

Painters unplug Bolts for solo lead

Games Sunday (Ynares Sports Arena)

2 p.m. – Northport vs San Miguel

4:35 p.m. – Magnolia vs Ginebra

7 p.m. – NLEX vs Terrafirma

MANILA, Philippines – Rain or Shine zapped Meralco, 85-72, in the duel of unbeaten squads and claimed solo lead in the 46th PBA Philippine Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.

Javee Mocon was everywhere with 18 points, six rebounds, six assists and two steals while veteran slotman Beau Belga hauled down a 17-10 double-double as the Elasto Painters hiked their mark to 3-0.

Norbert Torres (11) and PBA Press Corps Player of the Week Rey Nambatac (11) were also instrumental for Rain or Shine that bucked an early 10-point deficit to break away from Magnolia (2-0) and Meralco (2-1) in an erstwhile three-way logjam at the top.

“In my pre-game talk in regards to the Olympics, I told them we’re up against a 2-0 Meralco team that’s playing really well so we would need a gold standard in order for us to win,” said Chris Gavina, who is yet to lose in his debut season as ROS’ newest chief tactician.

“We’re happy and we’re blessed we came out with this victory.”

The E-Painters first clipped NLEX, 83-82, and Blackwater, 71-62, before claiming the scalp of the spirited Meralco side, which drubbed Northport and former five-time champion San Miguel Beer, for a sizzling start.

For Gavina, it’s a product of their long and hard preparation, crediting his leaders Belga and Gabe Norwood for setting the tone since his promotion as the team’s top deputy.

“Our expectations were just like any other team, it’s extremely high so it really comes down to preparation and commitment. We want to be the hardest working team in the PBA,” he added.

Rain or Shine displayed that exact grind against Meralco, working its way up from a cold 6-16 start with a 29-17 eruption in the second period to create a 42-35 cushion at the break.

The E-Painters were not to be denied since then, stepping on the pedal for a lead as many as 21 points, 81-62 midway through the third frame, before cruising to a 13-point victory.

Chris Newsome (13) was the lone bright spot for the Bolts as Mac Belo bled for just 4 markers after norming 17 in his first two games for his new team.

The scores:

Rain or Shine 85 – Mocon 18, Belga 17, Torres 11, Nambatac 11, Wong 8, Borboran 7, Caracut 6, Norwood 5, Ponferada 2, Guinto 0, Tolentino 0, Santillan 0.

Meralco 72 – Newsome 13, Almazan 10, Hodge 9, Hugnatan 9, Pinto 8, Quinto 7, Belo 4, Black 4, Maliksi 3, Canete 2, Jose 2, Jackson 1, Caram 0, Pasaol 0.

Quarterscores: 13-18, 42-35, 68-55, 85-72.

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