THE quarterfinals cast is complete with Rain or Shine catching the eighth and last bus to the next round following an inspiring 110-100 win over NLEX in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City over the weekend.
Now the more exciting part of the 13-team, import-flavored conference begins on Wednesday with No. 3 team Barangay Ginebra taking on No. 6 team NorthPort and No. 4 Converge batling No. 5 San Miguel Beer in a pair of best-of-three quarterfinal matches.
Then, No. 1 seed Bay Area Dragons square off with No. 8 Rain or Shine and No. 2 Magnolia play No. 7 Phoenix Super LPG on Friday with the top two teams enjoying twice-to-beat advantages over their lower-ranked opponents.
Five teams, including the three from the MVP Group of Companies, have been eliminated.
Last Sunday, Rain or Shine shut the door on undermanned NLEX in their sudden death encounter to extend coach Yeng Guiao’s return as Elasto Painters coach and arrange a No. 1 versus No 8 showdown with the Hongkong-based Dragons.
Ryan Pearson finished with 24 points and nine rebounds and six local players added double-digit outputs as Rain or Shine completed the playoffs cast.
“Before the game, ang sabi ko it’s about wanting it more. The guys proved they wanted it more, at malaking bagay sa amin ito,” said Guiao after the game.
“Tatlong conference, hindi umabot sa quarters ang team. Nakabalik kami kahit mahirap ang conference, and we find it meaningful. Ngayon lang kami nagkasama-sama and we take it (entering the quarters) as a blessing.”
Andrei Caracut was the top local scorfer for Rain or Shine, finishing with 19 points on three triples to go along with seven rebounds and three assists without a turnover in 25 minutes of play.
Rain or Shine (110) — Pearson 24, Caracut 19, Nieto 12, Santillan 11, Nambatac 10, Borboran 10, Mamuyac 7, Asistio 5, Norwood 3, Ponferrada 1, Ildefonso 0, Torres 0.
NLEX (100) — Clark 37, Trollano 15, Alas 13, Chua 12, Ganuelas-Rosser 9, Nieto 6, Miranda 3, Varilla 2, Rosales 0
Quarterscores: 31-27, 51-43, 80-75, 110-100.
3 p.m. — Converge vs. San Miguel
5:45 p.m. — Ginebra vs. NorthPort