MANILA, Philippines - (UPDATED) Rain or Shine blew hot and cold yesterday and got away with a 107-100 victory over Alaska Milk at the start of the PBA Governors' Cup at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.
The Elasto Painters pounced on the Aces' erratic start under new coach Luigi Trillo, and raced to an early lead that grew by as many as 23 points late in the first half.
Rain or Shine import Jamelle Cornley showed the damage he can do in the league by leading his team to the great start. He said he wants to win the championship.
"I'm here to play ball and to make sure Rain or Shine gets there,"” said the massive import who added that he grew up surrounded by football players.
Cornley loves to bang bodies, and Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao may have found the import that suits his physical brand of play.
"I embrace the contact," said Cornley, strong inside and out. He led everybody in scoring with his 27 points while teammates Jeff Chan added 20 and Paul Lee 17.
"I'm happy that the import is a right fit for us. He can defend, he has a decent outside shot," said Guiao of the 25-year-old, 6-foot-5 product of Penn State.
It was a baptism of fire for Trillo who learned the ropes of the game as part of the Alaska coaching staff then under Tim Cone.
He looked helpless at the start and watched from the bench, standing, hands on his hips, as the Elasto Painters enjoyed a 53-35 lead at the half.
But Trillo must have said something to his players during the halftime break that got them going in the third quarter where the Aces made a big run.
An incredible alley-oop dunk by Alaska import Jason Forte highlighted the Alaska counter-attack, a 20-9 run that cut the deficit to 55-62.
Two more baskets by Alaska, including one by playmaker LA Tenorio, pushed the Aces to within 59-62. However, that was the closest they got.
In no time, the Elasto Painters were back pulling away with Chan completing a rare four-point play off Wesley Gonzales to make it 76-63 with just seconds left in the third.
Rain or Shine coasted along the way, and despite numerous attempts by Alaska to close in anew, the Elasto Painters won with a little more to spare.
In the nightcap, defending champion Petron led from start to finish and scored a 97-83 win over Powerade. Import Eddie Basden carried much of the load with his 28 points and 10 rebounds.
"We were always on the same page," said Basden of his Petron teammates. "But we got a long way to go. I've been here only three days. But we will get better as a team."
Rain or Shine 107 – Cornley 27, Chan 20, Lee 17, Arana 11, Quinahan 7, Belga 6, Buenafe 6, Cruz 5, Norwood 3, Ibanes 3, Tang 2, Matias 0.
Alaska 100 – Forte 25, Baguio 19, Tenorio 16, Thoss 15, Baracael 13, Espinas 6, Custodio 4, Gonzales 2, Eman 0, Salamat 0.
Quarterscores: 32-17, 53-35, 78-63, 107-100
Petron 97 – Basden 28, Cabagnot 17, Santos 16, Peña 7, Lutz 6, Miranda 6, Reyes 5, Baclao 4, Yeo 4, Washington 4.
Powerade 83 – McCants 27, David 26, Salvador 7, Casio 5, Anthony 4, Al-Hussaini 4, Adducul 4, Lingganay 3, Vanlandingham 3, Guevarra 0, Calimag 0, Tugade 0.
Quarterscores: 26-20, 57-36, 70-63, 97-83