Not much was expected from newly acquired import Greg Smith II, who was coming off an almost three-year layoff.
But the 6’7” Smith played better than expected as he and the Elasto Painters lifted Rain or Shine to a 122-117 win over Blackwater Elite on Sunday night in the Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Smith’s 38-point output, to go with six rebounds, five assists and a steal, eased coach Yeng Guiao’s worries about his condition.
“I was kinda worried. He just came from a long flight. He has not been competing in the last few months and is not 100% shape. I guess he proved me wrong today,” said Guiao.
Smith made his presence felt during a decisive 11-0 run in the fourth period, with his three free throws and assist helping the Elasto Painters move away from a 95-100 deficit and into a 106-100 advantage in the last 7:12.
The 32-year-old Smith went on to finish the period with 11 points as he led the Painters to their first win after four straight losses.
“It’s a good feeling,” said Smith, who played his last game in 2020, when he last saw action for the Mineros de Zacateas in the Mexican league.
Leonardo Santillan added 16 points, shooting seven of them in the last period.
Santillan’s floater in the final 2:40 handed ROS its biggest lead, 115-106.
The Elasto Painters had four of their 15 triples in the fourth, with Nick Demusis putting ROS ahead by six, 106-100, off one of his threes in the game in the final 7:12.
RAIN OR SHINE 122 – Smith 38, Santillan 16, Demusis 12, Belga 12, Ildefonso 12, Nambatac 9, Asistio 7, Clarito 5, Ponferrada 4, Norwood 4, Caracut 3, Torres 0, Yap 0
BLACKWATER 117 – Williams 40, Sena 15, Hill 14, McCarthy 10, Ilagan 8, Ular 7, Casio 5, Amer 5, Ayonayon 4, Banal 3, Suerte 3, Taha 2, Torralba 0
QUARTERS: 34-31, 66-67, 87-95, 122-117