PBA Philippine Cup

‘Hard-nosed’ Clarito turns in near-perfect game as Rain or Shine drags TNT to sudden death

Delfin Dioquino

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‘Hard-nosed’ Clarito turns in near-perfect game as Rain or Shine drags TNT to sudden death

ATTACK. Jhonard Clarito in action for the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in the 2024 PBA Philippine Cup.

PBA Images

Jhonard Clarito plays the best game of his PBA career to help Rain or Shine stay alive against TNT in their best-of-three quarterfinals in the PBA Philippine Cup

MANILA, Philippines – Yeng Guiao believes a hard-nosed player like Jhonard Clarito will last in the PBA for the years – or even decade – to come.

His performance on Sunday, May 12, is a prime example why as Clarito helped Rain or Shine stay alive in the Philippine Cup, starring in a 121-113 win over TNT in their best-of-three quarterfinals at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum.

Clarito fired a career-high 29 points on a near-perfect 10-of-12 shooting, including a spotless 5-of-5 clip from beyond the arc, to propel the Elasto Painters to a sudden death after they suffered a beating in the series opener.

“He is a hard-nosed player, blue collar, and he is hardworking in practice. He is very rugged. I like his physical game. He works really hard to improve his offensive skills,” said Guiao.

A standout from De Ocampo Memorial College, the 28-year-old Clarito took an unconventional path to the PBA.

Clarito made a name for himself while playing for the San Juan Knights in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League before he decided to take his act to the PBA, getting drafted 17th overall by Rain or Shine in 2022.

After a rather quiet rookie year, Clarito has blossomed into a consistent contributor this season as he averages 12.8 points and 4.5 rebounds in the All-Filipino conference.

“The coaches notice his hard work, that is why he is slowly getting a longer playing time,” said Guiao. “We think Jhonard is here to stay in this league. He is still young so he can play for 10 more years.”

Clarito – who also finished with 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block without a turnover – shot the lights out on Sunday as he made all of his first nine field goals.

Although he missed his next two shots, Clarito ended the game in style, knocking down a timely three-pointer as part of a crucial 12-2 run the Elasto Painters used to steal the win after trailing 109-111 with three minutes left.

It was not just Clarito who rose to the occasion for Rain or Shine, with three of his teammates also reaching the 20-point mark.

Andrei Caracut posted 21 points and 5 rebounds, Adrian Nocum put up 20 points and 4 rebounds, while Santi Santillan chimed in 20 points and 6 rebounds as they all scored during that win-clinching rally.

Roger Pogoy delivered 28 points to pace the Tropang Giga, who struggled after seeing their frontline get depleted following the exit of big men Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser and Jewel Ponferada.

Ganuelas-Rosser left in the opening quarter due to an apparent knee injury, while Ponferada got ejected in the third period after incurring a pair of technical fouls and a flagrant foul.

Jayson Castro backstopped Pogoy with 17 points, 8 assists, and 6 rebounds, while Kim Aurin and Glenn Khobuntin added 15 and 13 points, respectively.

The Scores

Rain or Shine 121 – Clarito 29, Caracut 21, Nocum 20, Santillan 20, Mamuyac 12, Belga 6, Datu 6, Demusis 3, Norwood 2, Ildefonso 2, Asistio 0, Borboran 0.

TNT 113 – Pogoy 28, Castro 17, Aurin 15, Khobuntin 13, Oftana 11, K. Williams 11, Montalbo 5, B. Ganuelas-Rosser 5, Ponferada 4, Varilla 4, Heruela 0, Galinato 0.

Quarters: 25-31, 62-64, 95-95, 121-113.

– Rappler.com

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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.