PBA Philippine Cup

Belga, Rain or Shine give Converge rude PBA welcome

Delfin Dioquino
Belga, Rain or Shine give Converge rude PBA welcome

NOT AFRAID. Beau Belga turns in another clutch performance for Rain or Shine.

PBA Images

Beau Belga hits a clutch three-pointer as Rain or Shine denies Converge a triumphant debut in the PBA

MANILA, Philippines – Beau Belga gave Converge a rude welcome in the PBA after lifting Rain or Shine to a gritty 79-77 win in the opening game of the Philippine Cup at the Araneta Coliseum on Sunday, June 5.

Belga drained the go-ahead triple with 14 seconds remaining and Santi Santillan shone on both ends down the stretch as the Elasto Painters denied the FiberXers a triumphant debut in the PBA.

Magnificent all game long, Jeron Teng gave Converge a 77-75 lead off a tough lefty layup before Belga schooled Jeo Ambohot by sinking a stepback three-pointer in the ensuing possession for the lead.

Santillan then completed a crucial defensive stop on Teng following a steal from Rey Nambatac, and sealed the Rain or Shine win with a split from the free throw line.

Belga buried 4 treys overall and finished with 17 points, while Santillan led the way for the Elasto Painters with a near double-double of 18 points and 9 rebounds.

“The thing I love about Beau, he is never scared of the big moment or taking the big shot, which really helped us with this win,” said Rain or Shine head coach Chris Gavina.

Norbert Torres chalked up 10 points and 10 rebounds in the win, which also saw sophomore guards Andrei Caracut and Mike Nieto chime in 10 and 8 points, respectively.

Teng starred for the FiberXers with 23 points and 13 rebounds, but those numbers were put to waste as Converge squandered a seven-point lead late in the final quarter.

The FiberXers enjoyed a 73-66 lead off a Teng jump shot with 3:30 minutes remaining only to see the Elasto Painters erect a 9-0 run anchored on 4 points from Nambatac to seize the upper hand.

Alec Stockton had 13 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 blocks in the loss, while RK Ilagan added 10 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists.

Converge rookies Jeo Ambohot and Justin Arana – picked No. 3 and No. 4 overall in the previous draft – delivered 7 and 6 points, respectively, and combined for 19 rebounds.

The Scores

Rain or Shine 79 – Santillan 18, Belga 17, Caracut 10, Torres 10, Nambatac 8, Nieto 8, Asistio 5, Norwood 3, Tolentino 0, Ponferada 0, Mamuyac 0, Ildefonso 0, Borboran 0.

Converge 77 – Teng 23, Stockton 13, Ilagan 10, Ambohot 7, Arana 6, Adamos 5, Hill 5, Digregorio 4, Bulanadi 2, Lojera 2, Tolomia 0, Racal 0.

Quarters: 16-19, 31-38, 57-55, 79-77.

– Rappler.com

Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.