|Carl Montgomery made his debut with the Elasto Painters, Wednesday night. PBA Images|
By Xy-Zha Cabanlong
QUEZON CITY - The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters recorded their second straight win at the expense of the Magnolia Hotshots; 86-82 on Wednesday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Playing their first game with Carl Montgomery replacing Denzel Bowles as their import, the Elasto Painters had a shaky start in the first half, trailing against the Hotshots.
But Bowles's presence in the game, supporting the team despite his injury gave motivation for Rain or Shine to perform better at the second half.
Montgomery, who came in just three days ago, had a good start with the Elasto Painters as he was the one who got into the scoring groove.
"He did well especially in the 2nd half. Yung 1st half, I think medyo nang gigigil sya e. Nung pinagbigyan nila [Magnolia] tumira, I think that gave us the momentum," said Rain or Shine Coach Caloy Garcia.
A late rally by the Hotshots threatened the lead of the Elasto Painters at the last minute of the 4th period beginning with back to back triples coming from Mark Barroca.
From as high as 11 points with over five minutes left to play, Magnolia was able to cut the lead down to 4, 82-78, with 2:07 in the game through Jio Jalalon's triple.
Ed Daquioag was able to bring it back to 6 points, but Ian Sangalang answered with a lay-up to bring the Hotshots close to the game with 1:31 left to tally in an 84-80 score.
However, in just matters of seconds, Sangalang gave up three fouls that put an end to the Hotshots rally.
"It's a very physical game and I feel like I played to the best of my abilities. My team picked me up when I wasn't doing so well in the 4th quarter. I'm just happy to get the win," Montgomery said.
Beau Belga emerged as the game's best player. He had 22 points.
"Inisip namin na mga locals na if we win today, we will have a good chance [at the playoffs]. Extra motivation also to play better sa game yung makita mo si [Denzel] Bowles na andyan to support the team kahit injured," Belga told the media after the game.
Rain or Shine will play their last game against San Miguel on Saturday in Cagayan de Oro - something on which Garcia is looking forward to seeing his team to play well.
"We expect more from our import on the next game especially on the boards and in defense. Also yung yung outside shots namin sana mag-connect din on Saturday," Garcia mentioned.
Follow her on Twitter: @_ichbinxyzha