|Rich Ross struggled in shooting the basketball, but his performance was still enough to lift the E-Painters. PBA Media Group|
By Ivan Saldajeno
MANILA—Rain Or Shine's last gasp for a quarterfinal spot in the PBA Governors' Cup got a huge boost after the team trounced no less than grand slam seeking San Miguel, 91-85, at the Hoops Dome in Lapu-Lapu on Saturday night.
Although surviving the first of two non-Mega Manila games for the season-ending conference, the Elasto Painters had to deal with a last dash by the Beermen, who were boosting their shot at a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals with a new import.
ROS surprised SMB early on, holding its opponent to just 11 points in the first quarter before opening a lead as high as 22, 65-43, in the third quarter.
The E-Painters were even looking at a 20-point cushion, 85-65, with 5:50 left in the fourth, but the Beermen went on a 20-2 run to trim the lead down to two, 87-85, with 1:17 to go.
ROS eventually escaped after keeping SMB scoreless from thereon and making clutch free throws down the stretch.
Rich Ross and Javee Mocon each tallied 16-point double-doubles for the E-Painters, who moved up to 3-7, a full game behind the NorthPort Batang Pier for eighth place in the standings.
Only the top eight teams after the eliminations will move on to the quarterfinal round.
Gabe Norwood and Rey Nambatac each added 15 markers.
Chris Ross put up a game high 19 markers, two boards, five dimes, seven steals, and one block for the Beermen, who fell to fifth place at 6-4, a half-game behind Barangay Ginebra for fourth place.
A Top 4 finish will mean a twice-to-beat advantage for the said team in the quarterfinals.
Junemar Fajardo chipped in 17 markers, 11 boards, three assists, two blocks, and one steal.
New foreign signing John Holland was quiet in his PBA debut, only making 10 points on 4-of-13 shooting, although he too had 10 rebounds, six assists, and two blocks.
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