Rain or Shine shook off an early first quarter rust to whip NorthPort, 91-85, and barge in the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals Sunday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Elasto Painters were a bit slow coming out of the starting gate, but got their game going in the second quarter when Rey Nambatac came off the bench and spark a searing run that turn the game around.
Nambatac had six of his 14 points in that crucial stretch when Rain or Shine outscored NorthPort, 29-16, to erase a three-point deficit and hold on a 43-33 lead at halftime.
The Elasto Painters never wavered from there, enjoying lead of as much as 89-74 early in the final quarter to wrap up their quarterfinals series against the Batang Pier.
Ed Daquioag complemented Nambatac with a team-high 15 points, while Beau Belga added 13 for Rain or Shine, which returned to the semis after totally missing the playoffs of the season-ending Governors Cup last year.
“Before the game started, I told the players that the only think I’m worried about is the first quarter because we haven’t played for three weeks,” said Rain or Shine mentor Caloy Garcia.
Rain or Shine 91 – Daquioag 15, Nambatac 14, Belga 13, Ponferada 8, Norwood 8, Mocon 8, Yap 7, Ahanmisi 5, Torres 5, Borboran 4, Rosales 4, Maiquez 0, Onwubere 0, Alejandro 0.
NorthPort 85 – Tautuaa 24, Lanete 20, Grey 11, Pringle 9, Taha 7, Bolick 5, Guinto 4, Flores 0, Gabayni 0, Sollano 0.
Quarterscores: 14-17, 43-33, 73-62, 91-85.