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Import-less Rain or Shine edges Terrafirma

Rain or Shine found the resolve to win despite playing without import Greg Smith and injured stalwarts Matt Nieto and Gian Mamuyac as it drew big games from Andrei Caracut and timely baskets from Gabe Norwood and Leonard Santillan to edge Terrafirma, 120-118, in the Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup last night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Caracut scored a career-high 25 points, but the Elasto Painters had to come up with two big plays down the stretch before preserving the hard-earned, thrilling victory.

The Elasto Painters worked on a two-man game between Rey Nambatac and Beau Belga, but the cerebral guard was able to locate Santillan inside the shaded lane for the game-winning bucket, leaving only seven-tenths of a second for the Dyip to map out a play.

Terrafirma couldn’t come up with a good one in a hurry, allowing Rain or Shine to pick up back-to-back victories.

“I told the team that I should play the role as temporary import,” Caracut said in jest.

Turning serious, the former De La Salle University guard heaped praise on all his teammates for stepping up, knowing that they needed to play hard without Smith.

Smith was prevented from playing as the Dominican Republic basketball federation failed to provide the Letter of Clearance to the International Basketball Federation.

Last Sunday, Smith helped Rain or Shine to a 122-117 win over Blackwater.

But this time, he was barred from playing in compliance with the guidelines set by FIBA.

Should Rain or Shine decide to field him, it will be slapped with a hefty fine.

“It’s a collective effort. Everybody is the best player of the game,” Caracut added.

Santillan contributed 21 points and six rebounds while Norwood added 18 markers, including a steady 4-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc in what was easily one of his best shooting night.
It was Norwood’s highest point-production in the last three seasons.

The Scores:
RAIN OR SHINE (120) — Caracut 25, Santillan 21, Norwood 18, Nambatac 14, Asistio 10, Belga 9, Borboran 8, Ildefonso 6, Yap 4, Ponferrada 3, Demusis 2, Clarito 0, Torres 0.
TERRAFIRMA (118) — J. Williams 30, Tiongson 23, Camson 14, Cabagnot 13, Cahilig 13, Ramos 6, Gomez de Liano 6, Calvo 5, Gabayni 4, Alolino 3, Daquioag 1.
QUARTERS: 33-28, 59-57, 90-87, 120-118.

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