MANILA, Philippines - Defending champion Rain or Shine overcame a five-minute scoreless spell in the fourth quarter and thwarted Mahindra, 99-95, in overtime to notch its second straight win in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum last night.
The Elasto Painters uncorked an 8-2 closing flurry in regulation then closed out the extra period with an 9-2 attack to make it two in a row in the mid-season tourney following a 113-105 triumph over the NLEX Road Warriors on opening night Friday.
Shawn Taggart came out more aggressively in his second game with ROS, piling up 29 points, including two crucial field-goal baskets in extension play.
Taggart, who was only able to help GlobalPort to one win against four losses in a short stint in the local pro league last season, also collected 10 rebounds, four assists, two blocks against two turnovers in 39 minutes of action.
Raymond Almazan and Jeff Chan also came through in the clutch as the Elasto Painters outlasted the Floodbuster and sent Mahindra to its second straight loss.
Rain or Shine coach Caloy Garcia, turning a year older in the day, felt their experience helped them through.
“This (crunch time battle) is something new to them especially as they have a lot of new guys. The chemistry that we have worked for us. Matagal na kasi kaming magkakasama,” said Garcia.
At endgame, Taggart, Almazan, Chan, Gabe Norwood and Maverick Ahanmisi formed the ROS quintet that salvaged the game for the E-Painters after they blew a seven-point lead and trailed by six, 80-86, after a brief spell in the fourth quarter.
“We know Taggart can score, but he tried to get everybody involved. He can make everybody look good,” said Garcia. “But he has to work on his defensive side. He has the tendency to pace himself. But it really happens as he plays long minutes.”
Meralco stepped up on the defensive end in the second half, holding down NLEX to 36 points as the Bolts thrashed the Road Warriors, 91-84, also for a second straight win in the nightcap.
Jared Dillinger top scored with 20 points while Alex Stepheson logged 24 rebounds and 18 points as the Bolts scored a follow-up to their 94-86 drubbing of Mahindra Friday.
Beau Belga and James Yap contributed 12 points apiece while Chan added 10 markers. Jay Washington made six points to become the 83rd player to hit the 5,000-point plateau – the first in a Rain or Shine uniform.