Despite missing the services of key players Raymond Almazan and Maverick Ahanmisi, the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters are now up two games to none in their best-of-seven PBA Philippine Cup semifinals series against the Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok.
Head coach Caloy Garcia relied heavily on his youth movement to win the contest, as the trio of Norbert Torres, Ed Daquioag and Rey Nambatac combined for 41 points.
FOX Sports Philippines gives you the lowdown of how Rain or Shine managed to run away with a 93-80 victory last night.
The young guns are finally figuring it out
After stellar collegiate careers, Daquioag, Torres, and Nambatac needed some time to adjust their games in the pro level. With their confidence now at an all-time due to the ample playing time in Garcia’s rotation, the trio are finally living up to their high ceiling as lottery picks.
Daquioag, a shoot-first combo guard, has learned to become a factor on both ends of the floor and add value aside from his scoring. He finished in double figures for the second straight game, tallying a game-high 19 points (54 percent shooting from the field), on top of three boards and three assists.
The burly Torres, on the other hand, seems to have learned a good deal from teammate Beau Belga in terms of spacing the floor. The La Salle product fired off 16 markers built on a flawless performance from three-point territory (4-of-4). His hot shooting in the first quarter help RoS race to a quick start and take the fight out of Magnolia early.
Nambatac, meanwhile, continues to embrace his role as the squad’s sparkplug off the bench, notching 12 points, three rebounds, and three dimes. If he remains consistent for Rai or Shine moving forward, expect the former Letran Knight to be in the mix for Mr. Quality Minutes by season’s end.
RoS is getting it done from deep
After only draining 24 percent of their three-point attempts in Game 1, the Elasto Painters amped it up last night and drilled 16 of their 37 tries from downtown for 43 percent shooting clip. Aside from Torres’ four makes, Daquioag also got into it going 3-of-5. Veterans James Yap, Gabe Norwood, and Mark Borboran also had two connections apiece.
The same could not be said for Magnolia, as only Robbie Herndon (three-out-of-six) found his groove from deep. The team missed 18 of its 25 attempts (28 percent).
Magnolia has to take care of the ball better
The Hotshots have already turned the ball over 42 times in just the first two games of the series. They fumbled the ball 18 times in Game 2, with Marc Barroca and Paul Lee being the main culprits with three turnovers each.
RoS has capable defenders on all five positions who are smart enough to translate their opponents’ sloppy ball handling into easy points. Rain or Shine converted 24 points off turnovers, while Magnolia only had 15.
(Images from PBA Media Group)