MANILA, Philippines – Inspired by veteran big man Danny Ildefonso, the Petron Blaze Boosters snapped a three-game losing steak by beating the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, 96-86, in the PBA Philippine Cup Wednesday night at the Araneta Coliseum.
Ildefonso suited up for the hobbled Boosters despite dealing with a shoulder injury, and his hustle play early in the game set the tone for Petron.
He would wind up playing only seven minutes and missed his lone field goal attempt, but Ildefonso’s presence fired up the Boosters.
"He's not supposed to play, pero dahil alam niyang kulang kami, being a pro and a friend, tinulungan niya kami," Petron coach Olsen Racela told PBA.ph of Ildefonso.
"Even with a dislocated shoulder, he was the first to dive for the ball. That motivated the team," Racela added.
The Boosters held a slim 46-45 lead at halftime, but they stunned the E-Painters with a 33-point third quarter to pull away, 79-57, going into the fourth.
Rain or Shine scored 29 points in the fourth period, but the Boosters were able to hold on for the 10-point win.
"It feels good to finally win again after three losses," Racela said. "We need this badly, not only for the standings but for our confidence."
It was only Petron's fourth win against six losses this conference.
"We lost to teams that were down in the standings and I feel that this win against a tough team will bring our confidence back," Racela said.
Six players scored in double figures for Petron, led by Chris Lutz who fired 19 points on 4-of-8 shooting from beyond the arc. Arwind Santos had a double-double of 16 points and 15 rebounds.
As a team, Petron made 48% of their field-goal attempts while holding down Rain or Shine to only 36%.
"It's more of the players' commitment. We had a short talk the other day. When teams start losing, usong-uso ang bull session. Dumaan kami doon," Racela said. "We reminded each other it's time to stop talking and start to play. We did that."
Jeff Chan led all scorers with 20 points for Rain or Shine, but it was not enough as the E-Painters lost their third game in the Philippine Cup.
PETRON 96 - Lutz 19, Santos 16, Washington 14, Lassiter 12, Cabagnot 11, Miranda 10, Faundo 6, Yeo6, Duncil 2, Ildefonso 0.
RAIN OR SHINE 86 - Chan 20, Belga 14, Quinahan 11, Cruz 10, Rodriguez 10, Tang 8, Ibanes 6, Matias 4, Norwood 3, Arana 0.
Quarters: 25-15, 46-45, 79-57, 96-86