Rain or Shine coach Caloy Garcia had no idea in what shape his team would be and prepared himself for a testy start.
“Coming into the game, we felt like the first quarter would be an adjustment,” Garcia said on Tuesday night.
“But we started pretty well.”
That was an understatement. Rain or Shine scored the first 16 points—sophomore Javee Mocon had 10 of those—and the Elasto Painters held off the defending champion San Miguel Beermen with a clutch Rey Nambatac triple in the end for an 87-83 victory in the PBA Philippine Cup at Angeles University Foundation.
Mocon finished with 25 points and six rebounds to lead Rain or Shine in the team’s first game inside the Clark Freeport bubble, making three out of five triples for a 7-of-9 performance from the field.
“He plays with a lot of effort and he’s a born winner,” Garcia said of Mocon, the former San Beda star whose confidence remained sky-high despite the prolonged inactivity forced by the coronavirus pandemic.
“[My confidence] is always high,” Mocon said after the game. “I’m playing with guys like James Yap, Gabe Norwood and Beau Belga. What else can I ask for?”
But the Painters needed a big shot from a gutsy gunner who wasn’t exactly shooting well on Tuesday night to finally put the Beermen down.
“San Miguel was always going to fight back [after falling down early] and we probably got that win with Rey Nambatac three-pointer,” Garcia said.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re 0-of-8, 0-of-9. As long as you’re open, you could take those shots. It just happened he had the ball,” he added. “You see the maturity in him. He knew the time [was expiring] and he took the biggest shot of the game.”
Nambatac missed his first six shots before nailing his seventh attempt, a three-pointer with 12 seconds remaining that gave the Painters an 85-81 cushion.Before that, Terrence Romeo guaranteed two possessions for the Beermen in the final 29 seconds, hitting a quick triple off a timeout to move San Miguel within 82-81, with 27 seconds remaining.
In the second game, TNT drew another 40-point performance from one of its wards en route to a 112-101 victory over Terrafirma.
Ray Parks Jr. had 40 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and dished out five assists as the Tropang Giga notched their second victory in the bubble.
“I just wanna show the hard work I put in and the team has put in,” said Parks, who notched a career-high output. “I really wanted to use this time to showcase my game.”
TNT won its first game on a 45-point output by RR Pogoy. The former Far Eastern U hotshot was held to 11 on Tuesday night.“What’s important is someone steps up to score for us,” TNT coach Bong Ravena said.
Troy Rosario also came up huge for TNT, contributing 20 points, 15 rebounds and five assists for the Tropang Giga, who made 17 of 44 shots from beyond the arc for a 38 percent clip.CJ Perez led Terrafirma with 30 points and six boards. INQ
<!– Please implement on Entertainment only, remove the twitter handle after the byline in #byline_share
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.