May 13, 2018

Almazan delivers when it mattered as ROS takes lead

ANTIPOLO -- It's trumpeted as Reggie Johnson's battle with June Mar Fajardo and Christian Standhardinger.

Raymond Almazan stole the thunder in the end.

Almazan endured battles with Fajardo, Standhardinger and Arwind Santos, and seized the moment in overtime as Rain or Shine outlasted San Miguel Beer, 123-119, in a gripping battle to gain the solo lead in the PBA Commissioner's Cup at the Ynares Sports Center here Sunday night.

Kept on the bench in the fourth quarter, Almazan scored eight of his 25 points in his return to the floor in the extra period as the E-Painters humbled the SMB super team that lost import Troy Gillenwater on a technical infraction and Fajardo and Santos on fouls.

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Almazan produced a double-double game with 14 points that went with his 8-of-12 field shooting and 9-of-16 free throws.

And Johnson, Chris Tiu, Maverick Ahanmisi and Gabe Norwood had their moments early on as they bounced back from their loss to Columbian Dyip the last time out and wrested the solo league leadership with a 4-1 win-loss mark.

Meanwhile, the Beermen suffered a second straight loss in the tourney even with the addition of Standhardinger in their star-studded lineup.

Standhardinger showed improvement from his so-so PBA debut, coming through with 17 markers and 15 boards but failed to deliver in the clutch.

The whole SMB team failed to connect in the crunch and went down with a second straight loss after an earlier defeat at the hands the Meralco Bolts.

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Against the E-Painters, the Beermen suffered tremendous beating from Almazan in the extension play.

"Sabi lang ni coach be ready pag ipinasok ka. Walang problema sa akin na nakaupo ako sa fourth quarter," said Almazan. "But it's a team effort. Lahat kami nagtrabaho."

The E-Painters blew away an early 12-point lead and rallied from an 18-point deficit in fashioning out the morale-boosting triumph.

From a poor start, the Beermen raced ahead, 63-39, at the half with Santos and Standhardinger firing away 15 points apiece and Fajardo adding 13. For the E-Painters, Johnson came up with 21 in the opening half.

The Beermen kept the pace until Tiu, Ahanmisi and Norwood got the E-Painters back into the fight in the fourth quarter.

Back-to-back treys by Norwood had the E-Painters regaining the upper hand at 102-100.

And the two teams fought tooth and nail until the game went into overtime at 112.
ROS then immediately seized control in overtime on a trey by Norwood followed by four straight free throws by Almazan.(SB)

The scores:

RAIN OR SHINE 123 - Johnson 27, Almazan 25, Tiu 16, Ahanmisi 16, Norwood 15, Daquioag 7, Torres 5, Washington 5, Ponferada 4, Yap 3, Onwubere 0.

SAN MIGUEL 119 - Santos 29, Fajardo 26, Lassiter 18, Standhardinger 17, Cabagnot 14, Gillenwater 11, Ross 2, Ganuelas-Rosser 2, Espinas 0.

Quarterscores: 30-23, 49-63, 84-90, 112-112, 123-119 (OT).