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E-Painters bounce back, foil Beermen in OT behind Almazan

Raymond Almazan tied his career-high with an awe-inspiring OT performance in Rain Or Shine's win over defending champs San Miguel (Franchesca Nicole Collantes / Dugout Philippines) 
By Ricky Manliguis

ANTIPOLO-- Rain Or Shine found a hero in Raymond Almazan in overtime as it mangled San Miguel, 123-119, to cap off Sunday action of the PBA Commissioners Cup at the Ynares Center. 

Almazan pumped in eight of his team's 11 points in the extra session as the Asian Coatings franchise stormed back from a 17-point first half deficit en route to its fourth win in five outings and solo leadership in the standings. 

After the Painters held a 30-23 lead at the end of the first quarter, the defending champs Beermen went to life in the second, outscoring ROS 40-19 to take a commanding 63-49 edge heading into the locker room. 

Almazan and Chris Tiu then connived in the third-quarter fightback, scoring 21 of the team's 35 points as ROS slowly chopped off SMB's lead to come within 84-90 heading into the final period.

The fightback continued, and Gabe Norwood's back-to-back triples then gave ROS a 102-100 lead, 5:15 left in regulation. A corner jumper by Jay Washington made it 109-105 in the last two minutes. 

After a Tiu split from the line, Alex Cabagnot's lay-up tied the ballgame at 112-all and forced overtime. 

But that proved to be SMB's last stand. Norwood opened OT with a triple for a 115-112 lead before Almazan calmly sank six of his eight free throws sandwiched with a lay-up with 1:12 left that virtually sealed the deal.

Almazan tied his career-high with 25 points on an efficient 8-of-12 from the field, with a 9-of-14 clip from the stripe. The former Letran Knight also had 14 rebounds, an assist, and a block in 23 minutes of action.

Reggie Johnson topscored for ROS with 27 points, 16 in the first half, to go along with 19 rebounds, four assists, and two blocks. Tiu and Maverick Ahanmisi both chipped in 16, while Norwood had 15. 

Santos led the Beermen, now dropping to a 0-2 card, with a game-high 29 points with nine rebounds. June Mar Fajardo had 26 markers and 11 rebounds, but fouled out with 51.3 seconds remaining in regulation.

Top over-all pick Christian Standhardinger had a decent outing this time, tallying 17 markers. 

Reinforcement Troy Gillenwater was not in the SMB bench the whole second half after being ejected late in the second period. He finished with 11 points and three boards.

The Scores: 

Rain Or Shine 123-- Johnson 27, Almazan 25, Tiu 16, Ahanmisi 16, Norwood 15, Daquioag 7, Washington 5, Torres 5, Ponferada 4, Yap 3, Belga 0, Onwubere 0. 

San Miguel 119-- Santos 29, Fajardo 26, Lassiter 18, Standhardinger 17, Cabagnot 16, Gillenwater 11, Ross 2, Ganuelas-Rosser 2, Espinas 0. 

Quarterscores: 30-23, 49-63, 84-90, 112-all, 123-119 

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