Philippine basketball

Belo-less Rain or Shine denies Phoenix rally; NorthPort outguns TNT in PBA On Tour

JR Isaga

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Belo-less Rain or Shine denies Phoenix rally; NorthPort outguns TNT in PBA On Tour

STINGERS OUT. Rain or Shine guard Rey Nambatac handles the ball against the Phoenix defense at the 2023 PBA On Tour exhibition series

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Rain or Shine fires off a balanced offense as new signee Mac Belo sits out against Phoenix, while Letran-reinforced NorthPort rallies past San Beda-boosted TNT

MANILA, Philippines – The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters leaned on a balanced attack and held on for a 114-103 PBA On Tour win over the Phoenix Fuel Masters at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City on Friday, June 2.

As new signee Mac Belo watched from the sidelines in street clothes, Rain or Shine got its offense from Andrei Caracut and Nick Demusis, who each scored a game-high 15.

Three other Painters breached double-digit scoring, namely Rey Nambatac with a 14-point outing off the bench, Santi Santillan with 13 plus 11 rebounds for the double-double finish, and Anton Asistio with 11 in just 16 minutes.

From down 17, 88-105, midway through the fourth quarter, Phoenix came storming back with a 15-3 barrage capped by a pair of Raul Soyud free throws to get within 5, 103-108, at the 3-minute mark.

However, all it took was a quick layup and a clutch three from Rain or Shine’s leaders Beau Belga and Nambatac, respectively, to negate the Fuel Masters’ comeback effort for good.

In the absence of Phoenix top options Jason Perkins and Javee Mocon, big man Raul Soyud continued his white-hot tear in the PBA exhibition series with a 24-point, 13-rebound double-double on 7-of-9 shooting and 9-of-13 from the line.

The former NLEX and TNT role player also added 2 steals and 2 blocks to his stellar line, as his frontcourt partner Larry Muyang also tallied a huge 20-point, 12-board outing in 33 minutes off the bench.

Meanwhile, the NorthPort Batang Pier rode a final 11-0 burst to outgun the undermanned TNT Tropang Giga, 99-90.

Former top overall pick Joshua Munzon spearheaded the charge with a team-high 16 points on 5-of-12 shooting, while reserve MJ Ayaay sparked the bench with 15 points, 4 rebounds, 3 steals, and 1 block.

New leading playmaker Paul Zamar scored 13, albeit with a team-worst plus-minus of -21, while exhibition recruit and Letran standout Fran Yu added 11 points off the bench.

Glenn Khobuntin led TNT in the loss with 24 points, 8 boards, and 4 dimes, while seldom-used Carl Bryan Cruz resurfaced with a 21-point outing in 30 minutes.

The Tropang Giga, who were playing without their top stars Mikey Williams, Jayson Castro, Calvin Oftana, and Kelly Williams, leaned on current San Beda players for support.

Guard Peter Alfaro played 24 minutes and scored 5 points, while big men Damie Cuntapay and Clifford Jopia netted 14 minutes apiece, combining for 8 points and 11 rebounds. –

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