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Jay Washington of the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters during their do-or-die clash with Blackwater Elite, Feb. 3, 2017, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. | PBA Media Bureau
MANILA, Philippines – Rain or Shine bucked a sluggish start to beat Blackwater, 103-80, in Friday night's PBA dispute for the last playoff ticket of the Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta-Coliseum.
The Elasto Painters and the Elite were neck-and-neck for most of the first half. It was only until Jay Washington and Gabe Norwood took over that perennial contenders began to pull away.
Washington paced Rain or Shine with 15 points. Rookie Mike Tolomia added 14 markers while Jericho Cruz had 12.
Blackwater, which had its best conference in franchise history, drew production from Art dela Cruz, who finished with 20 markers.
The Elasto Painters, now helmed by Caloy Garcia, was the No. 2 crew in the tournament ladder. They were dealt with a four-game losing skid that put them in in a playoff tussle with the Elite.
"Part of that [spiral in the standings] is because of the loss against San Miguel," Painters head coach Caloy Garcia said. "Now we have to play the best team in the league."
The win over the Elite was the Painters' fifth attempt at securing that quarters ticket.
Rain or Shine will take on the twice-to-beat and defending Philippine Cup champions San Miguel on Sunday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo. Barangay Ginebra and Alaska will cap off the night.
Saturday's skirmish between TNT and GlobalPort, followed by Star and Phoenix, will be at the Mall of Asia Arena, beginning at 3 p.m.