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Rain Or Shine cools off Magnolia Hotshots in OT, keeps top spot

Reggie Johnson had another mammoth performance as Rain Or Shine remains atop the team standings. Franchesca Nicole Collantes / Dugout Philippines

By Ricky Manliguis

QUEZON CITY—Rain Or Shine stayed on course for a twice-to-beat advantage, outlasting a stubborn Magnolia Hotshots in overtime, 99-96, in the main game of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Burly import Reggie Johnson bulldozed his way to 23 points and 18 rebounds, while the local crew shone in the extra session enough to stave off the Pambansang Manok for a 6-1 record and solo leadership in the standings. 

Gabe Norwood and Beau Belga fired consecutive triples in a 7-0 OT run to build a 95-91 lead before Chris Tiu doused cold water on Magnolia's hopes with four straight charities for the final outcome. 

Raymond Almazan flirted with a double-double with 19 and nine boards, while Norwood issued 12 and Tiu 10. 

“Overtime is better than losing, and basically I told them that defense will win us the game and we were able to make stops at the end,” said Caloy Garcia, whose wards having played three overtime games this conference.

“It just shows the character of the team na we can win close games. That's one thing we can say tonight, that we build on character," he later added. 

Magnolia saw its three-game win run snapped with the loss despite Rome Dela Rosa'a 19 points on a perfect 6-for-6 from the field.  Newly-acquired import Curtis Kelly also had 19 along with 15 boards, just converted three of his 12 charities. 

Jio Jalalon, who sent the game into overtime with a floater for 88-all, fashioned out 13 markers while Paul Lee finshed with 10. 

The Scores: 
Rain Or Shine 99 – Johnson 23, Almazan 19, Norwood 12, Tiu 10, Ahanmisi 9, Belga 7, Yap 5, Torres 5, Daquioag 4, Ponferada 3, Nambatac 2, Onwubere 0
Magnolia 96 – Kelly 19, Dela Rosa 19, Jalalon 13, Lee 10, Ramos 7, Melton 6, Pascual 6, Reavis 4, Herndon 4, Simon 3, Brondial 3, Barroca 2
Quarterscores: 22-18, 46-50, 69-68, 88-88, 99-96.

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