PBA Philippine Cup

No déjà vu as Rain or Shine avoids 0-5 hole with breakthrough over Phoenix

Martin Mendoza

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No déjà vu as Rain or Shine avoids 0-5 hole with breakthrough over Phoenix

STEP UP. Rain or Shine’s Adrian Nocum goes for a layup against Phoenix.


Rookie Adrian Nocum goes off for 28 points to lead Rain or Shine to its first win after a 0-4 start in the Philippine Cup

MANILA, Philippines – After four straight losses to begin the PBA Philippine Cup, Rain or Shine Elasto Painters head coach Yeng Guiao can finally breathe a huge sigh of relief. 

This, after Rain or Shine finally barged into the win column following a convincing 100-85 win over the Phoenix Fuel Masters at the Ynares Center in Antipolo on Sunday, March 17.

The Elasto Painters avoided falling into a 0-5 hole, which was exactly how they started the recent Commissioner’s Cup, before turning things around and finishing the conference on a fiery six-game winning streak.

“For a while, I was worried that what happened last conference would happen again, where we went 0-5,” said Guiao in a mix of English and Filipino.

“At least we’re only 1-4 now, there’s a small improvement,” he added with a smile.

Adrian Nocum, the 24th pick in the 2023 PBA Draft, continued his stellar play for Rain or Shine this conference as he went off for a game-high 28 points on 11-of-21 shooting, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 steals. 

The high-flying guard Nocum, who is known for his daredevil drives to the basket, showed he can also light it up from long distance as he connected on five of his nine three-point attempts. 

“Adrian has been playing good games the past few games,” said Guiao of Nocum.

“His game really changes and he becomes a bigger threat if he’s making his three-point shots. Today, he made enough three-point shots for him to be able to also balance his offense, getting into the drives and the layups.”

With Phoenix threatening to pull away with a 38-29 lead early in the second quarter, Rain or Shine came alive and finished the first half on a huge 18-3 run for a 47-41 halftime advantage.

It was Nocum who spearheaded Rain or Shine’s furious rally as he scored 13 of those 18 points, including the go-ahead basket at the 2:44 mark of the second period.

With Rain or Shine already enjoying a 16-point lead midway through the third frame, Phoenix then managed to pull within just 6 points in the fourth quarter, 80-86, off a triple by Jjay Alejandro with 6:48 to play.

Unfortunately for Phoenix, Andrei Caracut and Jhonard Clarito immediately responded with back-to-back treys to shatter any hopes of a Fuel Masters comeback.   

Aside from Nocum, Beau Belga also came up big for Rain or Shine with a double-double of 21 points and 11 rebounds. 

Meanwhile, Ricci Rivero topscored for Phoenix – which fell to 1-3 – with 16 points. 

The Scores

Rain or Shine 100 – Nocum 28, Belga 21, Clarito 19, Santillan 8, Caracut 6, Belo 5, Mamuyac 4, Borboran 4, Norwood 3, Ildefonso 2, Asistio 0, Demusis 0.

Phoenix 85 – Rivero 16, Jazul 11, Tuffin 10, Verano 10, Manganti 7, Mocon 6, Alejandro 6, Muyang 5, Garcia 5, Daves 4, Salado 3, Lalata 0. 

Quarters: 22-29, 47-41, 78-66, 100-85.

– Rappler.com

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