Rain or Shine’s new import, Greg Smith II, made an impressive debut in the PBA Governors’ Cup, leading his team to a much-needed 122-117 victory over Blackwater at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena Sunday, February 12.
Smith’s arrival as a replacement for Michael Qualls proved to be a breath of fresh air for the Elasto Painters, who had yet to secure a win in their first four games of the conference.
Despite his worries about Smith’s fitness level, Coach Yeng Guiao was impressed with the import’s performance.
The veteran coach said, “To be honest I was kinda worried because he came from a long flight, hasn’t really been competing the last few months, actually. So I know he’s not in a hundred percent shape.”
“But I guess he just proved me wrong and played his heart out,” he added. “I wasn’t really expecting him to score that heavily tonight. Just trying to help out the team in different ways. That’s really a big bonus for us. He can score, create for others, play defense. Last quarter he was really key to stopping Troy Williams.”
Smith scored 38 points, grabbed six rebounds, and dished out five assists, providing the spark the Elasto Painters needed to secure their first victory.
His defensive presence was key in stopping Troy Williams, who had 34 points in the first three quarters but was limited to only six in the final quarter.
Guiao credited the team’s heart-to-heart talk for their morale-boosting win.
He said they committed to re-committing themselves for the last six games of the conference, believing that as long as they make the playoffs, they still have a chance.
“We told ourselves, we agreed, that we would re-commit ourselves these last seven games, now six games,” he related. “There’s still a chance. As long as we can make the playoffs, as long as we’re there, still able to play, maybe something can happen, Iyon lang inasahan namin (that’s what we are hoping for).
Although Smith played a key role in Rain or Shine’s victory, he had a strong supporting cast. Santi Santillan, Nick Demusis, and Shawn Ildefonso each stepped up and recorded personal tournament highs to keep their team in the game after falling behind early.
On the other hand, Blackwater received an unexpected boost from James Sena and Tyrus Hill, but their inability to play solid defense ultimately led to their downfall, resulting in their fourth straight loss.
His debut with Rain or Shine was an impressive one, and his performance bodes well for the Elasto Painters’ chances of making it to the playoffs.
Once again, Williams struggled in the crucial moments of the game, similar to his debut just four days prior.
Despite already scoring 34 points in the first three quarters, he was limited to just six in the final quarter, when Rain or Shine made a strong comeback and outscored Blackwater 35-22, ultimately securing the victory.
With this loss, Blackwater’s record fell to 1-5.
Although Williams put up impressive numbers with 11 rebounds and six assists, his nine turnovers proved to be costly and matched the same number of miscues he had in a previous 106-119 loss to Terrafirma.