MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED)－ The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters’ quest for back-to-back titles got off to a strong start as they down the NLEX Road Warriors, 113-105, in the 2017 PBA Commissioner’s Cup opening night double-header on Friday, March 17 at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Elasto Painters relied on hot shooting to kick off their match against former coach Yeng Guiao, as they went 52% from the field to earn an early double-digit lead at halftime. The Road Warriors meanwhile displayed a strong start in the second half, outscoring their rivals 29-18 in the third quarter to go up 81-80.
The defending champs, however, went on an 11-2 run to cap off a tight closing quarter, which was earlier sparked by Gabe Norwood’s off the glass triple that gave ROS a 105-103 lead with under 2 mins remaining.
Shawn Taggart, who suited up for GlobalPort in the last midseason tournament, put up 23 points on 10-of-17 shooting, 10 boards, and 3 assists for the Elasto Painters.
James Yap, who finished with a team-high 26 markers, delivered in the clutch as he scored 13 in the 4th quarter, including the dagger from beyond the arc that gave his team a 110-103 cushion.
Import Wayne Chism, who has played for Rain or Shine in past conferences, debuted with a huge double-double for NLEX as he pitched in a game-high 27 points to go with 21 rebounds.
Carlo Lastimosa added 15 points, while Eric Camson had 14 markers and 6 rebounds for the Road Warriors, who turned the ball over 16 times.
The Elasto Painters will next face the Mahindra Floodbusters, while NLEX prepares for battle against Meralco both on Sunday, March 19 at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Rain or Shine (113): Yap 26, Taggart 23, Almazan 18, Chan 12, Belga 9, Norwood 7, Cruz 6, Ahanmisi 6, Tiu 4, Ponferada 2, Washington 0.
NLEX (105): Chism 27, Lastimosa 15, Camson 14, Taulava 12, Alas 11, Lanete 8, J. Villanueva 5, Guinto 4, Soyud 3, Baracael 2, Anthony 2, Tiongson 2, Khobuntin 0, Rios 0.
Quarter scores: 26-27, 62-52, 80-81, 113-105. – Rappler.com
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