Save for some stretches, Rain or Shine looked like the well-oiled machine it usually is.
The same cannot be said of Alaska with its manpower problems, enabling the Elasto Painters to spoil the Aces’ season debut with an 85-72 win Sunday in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Rain or Shine got off to a quick start and then hung tough in the face of undermanned Alaska’s fiercer stance in the second half to follow up its 108-98 win over defending champion San Miguel Beer just last Friday.
Rey Nambatac’s 12 points were enough to pace the E-Painters, who also drew 11 points and a gamehigh five assists from Beau Belga, as well as a game-best 14 rebounds on top of eight points from guard Maverick Ahanmisi.
“Good win for us,” said Rain or Shine coach Caloy Garcia after his team’s second straight win that gave it a 4-1 slate overall that solidified its hold on second-running spot behind unbeaten leader Phoenix.
It is undeniable, however, that the biggest factor which stacked the odds in the E-Painters’ favor was the fact Alaska showed up minus key players Jayvee Casio, Vic Manuel, Simon Enciso and Kevin Racal, who are nursing injuries.
Rain or Shine 85 – Nambatac 12, Belga 11, Almazan 10, Yap 9, Ahanmisi 8, Torres 7, Mocon 5, Norwood 5, Daquioag 4, Maiquez 4, Ponferada 4, Rosales 3, Borboran 3, Onwubere 0.
Alaska 72 – Teng 15, Pascual 12, Banchero 11, Galliguez 9, Exciminiano 6, Thoss 6, Ayaay 6, Baclao 4, Cruz 2, Potts 1, Babilonia 0.
Quarterscores: 25-14, 48-30, 64-51, 85-72.