After a gruelling eight-month drought, KIA at last ended its futility, scoring a gigantic 98-94 upset win over Rain or Shine in the thrilling 43rd PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Saturday night.
Glenn Khobuntin came up clutch for the Picanto, nailing the dagger basket in the last 8 seconds to tow KIA into its first win in 5 games.
That wasn’t the first though of Khobuntin’s heroics as he was also responsible for the Picanto blitz in the last two minutes for 96-89 gap.
Returning from injury and just on his second game this season, Chris Tiu tried to catapult Elasto Painters back in the game with a couple of free throws for just a 94-96 deficit before Khobunti’s game-sealing bucket.
Much to the relief of coach Ricky Dandan who tasted a forgettable 23-point, 47-point and 37-point loss, in that order, against Phoenix, Magnolia and Alaska in their last three games, finally scored a victory.
With the recent win, Picanto now improved to 1-4 slate while the Elasto Painters suffered their third loss in five outings.
Khobuntin put up 11 points and two rebounds in the win while Rashawn McCarthy and Roider Cabrera racked up 14 markers apiece. Team captain Mark Yee added 13 markers and 7 boards.
Marred by an intriguing off season move after letting go of top rookie overall pick who turned out to be Christian Standhardinger, KIA finally has a positive thing to look forward to for the rest of the conference.
After all, this gigantic win ended a world of trouble for the Picanto. Prior to tonight’s win, KIA had been winless in the past 8 months as it last tasted a victory in May 2017 after a 122-121 overtime win over Phoenix in the Commissioner’s Cup.
KIA went winless, 0-11 in the 2017 Governors’ Cup.
On the other hand, Tiu, whose heroics for Rain or Shine fell short, finished with 10 points.
Rookie Rey Nambatac and James Yap spearheaded the way for Rain or Shine with 12 and 11 points, respectively.
KIA takes on Meralco on January 24 while ROS clashes against NLEX on January 26.
Both games will be played at the Big Dome.
KIA Picanto 98 – McCarthy 14, Cabrera 14, Yee 13, Khobuntin 11, Camson 10, Galanza 8, Celda 8, Ababou 6, Tubid 5, Sara 5, Caperal 4.
Rain or Shine Elasto Painters 94 – Nambatac 12, Yap 11, Tiu 10, Ponferada 10, Ahanmisi 9, Norwood 8, Belga 8, Borboran 7, Maiquez 6, Almazan 6, Daquioag 4, King 2, Cruz 1, Matias 0, Trollano 0.
Quarters: 13-18, 40-44, 72-68, 98-94.