SLR 95, RoS 90

On: 22 October 2009


Sta. Lucia Realty is on a mission and will pounce on any opportunity that comes its way.

Like Wednesday (21 October 2009), when the Realtors took advantage of Rain or Shine’s manpower shortage to carve out a 95-90 overtime victory and grab a share of the early lead in the KFC-PBA Philippine Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome.

Kelly Williams flashed his MVP form of two seasons ago with 28 points, 14 rebounds and six assists while Joseph Yeo and Bitoy Omolon provided plenty of help in the Realtors’ decisive surge in the extension as Sta. Lucia started a conference at 2-0 for the first time in three conferences, or since the 2008 Fiesta.

The Elasto Painters sorely missed the services of Sol Mercado, who was struck by food poisoning the night before, and the injured Mike Hrabak as they absorbed their second loss in as many games.

"I’m happy we came out winners," said Realtors coach Boyet Fernandez, whose team opened its bid to get back the crown it won in the 2007-08 season with a 95-76 thrashing of Coca-Cola last Friday.

"Our players started flat because they probably thought without Mercado and Hrabak we can win the game handily," he added. "But credit Rain or Shine. They played their game tonight, even without those two, especially Mercado."

Rain or Shine did dish out a valiant fight, but fell way short in overtime where it was held to a solitary field goal. It was the Asian Coatings franchise’s second loss, dropping it in the company of San Miguel Beer, Coca-Cola and Smart Gilas.

For naught went the 19 points by Ryan Arana and the 18 and team-high nine rebounds by Gabe Norwood, whose fallaway in the last three seconds of regulation pegged an 84-all count. Last year’s Rookie of the Year also had a game-high seven turnovers.

"Loss is on my shoulders tho. 7 TOs wont help any team win a close," Norwood said on his Twitter page.

The touch that propped Rain or Shine back from a 48-59 deficit and enabled it to engage Sta. Lucia through four deadlocks and eight lead changes in the fourth quarter alone was virtually absent in overtime as the Elasto Painters went 1-for-9 from the field.

The Realtors were quick to capitalize, surging to a 92-86 spread that proved solid enough to hold up in the last 1:34.

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