Denzel Bowles makes his way past Diamon Simpson and Noy Baclao to attempt to score prior to him getting injured. PBA Images
By Xy-Zha Cabanlong
PASAY CITY - The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters are back in their winning form after escaping the Alaska Aces, 86-84, in the PBA Commissioner's Cup on Saturday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Forced to play All-Filipino from the remainder of the second quarter up until the entirety of the second half due to losing Denzel Bowles to an injury, the Elasto Painters proved that despite the huge blow of losing an import, they can rise above the situation and walk away with the win.
Bowles had 16 points in the ball game along with 4 rebounds prior to getting the injury off a foul by Chris Banchero with 4:03 left to play in the second quarter.
"Halftime pa lang dinala na siya [Bowles] sa hospital because he felt that something cracked in his knee. Most probably, he'll be out [the entire conference]. Sayang because you know, in yesterday's practice, he really talked to everybody. He's a very silent type of an import but we can feel him yesterday that medyo malakas pa boses nya that he thinks we really are a very good team and he asked the locals to just play the way we played in the All-Filipino and he's here to help us all the way. He really wanted to win," Coach Caloy Garcia said.
Alaska could have easily taken advantage of the situation to sail away and take the game, but Mark Borboran stepped up big and rose up to the challenge of leading the Elasto Painters in the absence of their import.
In the final period, the all-Filipino Elasto Painters managed to lead as much as 9 points only to be chased by the Diamon Simpson-led Aces.
Luck must have been on Rain or Shine's side as the Aces were caught guilty of a goaltending violation as Simpson swiped the ball away from the net off Javee Mocon's attempt to the basket, giving a 4-point lead for the Elasto Painters; 72-68.
"It's a huge win for us and also a big loss because we don't know the status of Denzel right now. At halftime, I have to get mad at the players and I just have to tell them that we have to compete. We actually had to practice without Denzel last Thursday and I reminded them about how we did that training - to do exactly just that if we want to have a chance. Hats off to the players, they really played their hearts out, Sidney came in and hasn't played the whole conference but gave us huge minutes, huge quality minutes," Garcia added.
For Beau Belga, tonight's game is a must win for the Elasto Painters along with their other remaining games, should they wanted to affirm their stand at the playoffs. Bowles' injury even gave Rain or Shine a motivation to walk away with the win, no matter how difficult it may be.
"Kung natalo kami kanina, we will only have a slight chance of making it to the next round. Denzel talked to us on training yesterday, encouraged us to have the eagerness to play and win. Siguro naging challenge for us lalo na nung na-injured sya. Dun kami naging motivated pa lalo to play well for him kasi binubuhos nya lahat e," Belga added.
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