MANILA - The exhaustion of playing three games in a span of a week finally caught up to Rain or Shine on Sunday night, as the Elasto Painters had to grind out an admittedly "ugly" win over NorthPort.
In a game wherein both teams struggled to find their mark, the Elasto Painters hacked out a 70-68 win thanks to a pair of free throws by Rey Nambatac with 1.3 seconds left to play. Rain or Shine shot just 29.7% from the field -- the lowest shooting percentage for a winning team in six years, according to PBA statistician Fidel Mangonon III.
Afterward, ROS coach Caloy Garcia lamented their lackluster performance, wherein the Elasto Painters started off slow, nearly lost an 11-point lead late, and just barely managed to hold on for the win.
"Today was really an ugly win for us. I wanted a better game from us, better production from everybody. It was just an ugly game for us," said Garcia. "I believe that we can do better, so we just have to review what went wrong."
Garcia said their cramped schedule likely had an impact on their subpar outing. The Elasto Painters were playing their third game in six days, having opened their season with an 87-83 win over San Miguel last October 13 before following it up with a 91-82 win over TerraFirma on October 16.
They just had a day to rest before taking on a NorthPort squad that was desperate for a win after dropping their first two games.
"Maybe tinamaan na rin kami ng pagod because we just played, this is our third consecutive game. That's the reason why we rotated so many players today," Garcia explained.
Their weariness was evident on offense, wherein they made just 22 field goals -- including just 10 of 38 attempts from beyond the arc. Garcia was relatively happy with their defense, especially after limiting NorthPort to two points in the third quarter, a mark that equaled a league-record for futility.
"On the defensive side I feel that we were consistent. But on the offensive side, medyo ano eh, parang parehong teams ata napapako eh," said Garcia. "I think we can do better on the offensive side."
The Elasto Painters are now looking forward to their first long break of the conference. They won't play again until Thursday, October 22, when they take on the dangerous Alaska Aces.
Garcia plans to give his team a day off on Monday to recover, before going back to work on Tuesday and Wednesday.
"Alaska probably is one of the toughest team I've seen here play, despite their record being 1-2," he noted. "Playing Alaska, you know their history, they're really a good team, well-coached, so I think we just have to fix 'yung mga problema namin."