RAIN or Shine did a Golden State on Saturday's PBA game at the jampacked University of St. La Salle Coliseum.
The Elasto Painters mimicked the Warriors trail and stay close strategy, and did damage at the start of the fourth quarter. RoS shone brightest with dunks from Gabe Norwood, their gangling centers, and silent operator import as the game winded up with TnT losing grip and enthusiasm near closing.
Coach Yeng Guiao showed no emotion from the sidelines even if Talk ‘N Text enjoyed the lead from tip-off up to the third quarter. He was his usual self with hands akimbo and giving pointers to his players and unsavory words to the officials.
The Congressman from Pampanga exchanged pleasantries and gave his calling card to Mayor Monico Puentevella before the game started and allowing enough playing time to former USLS Stinger Jeff Chan who tried hard to please his local fans.
Tropang Texters were supposed to be on their way for another blowout job until the gym's south basket rejected their balls like it did the Painters in the first half.
It just took a little adjustment for RoS to play without the injured Paul Lee which turned out to be a blessing in disguise as Elasto stuck to its game plan to stay close and chipped away TnT's lead slowly.
PBA's return to Bacolod City after nearly eight years was a relief for its fans and followers who never thought of experiencing again the game. The cities of Bago and Victorias have been the PBA venues for obvious reasons.
With the current mayor of Bacolod close to MVP of Smart Group of Companies and having Rain or Shine paints improving the Bays Center, and the public plaza, it was just a matter of time that PBA returns here.
And it did. That’s what counts most to the Negrenses who have been craving for a PBA out-of-town game. After all, so many local talents have been with the country's professional basketball league.
Boyet Fernandez, now coaching NLEX, was a CSA-Bacolod Nursing student when he started his career going to Sta. Lucia Realty. Leo Bat-og was once a Realtor but his battered knee cut short his stint.
Reynel Hugnatan is still active together with James Yap, former UNO-R Ram Yee, and dozens of inactive former pros who played big before. Michael Mustre, the son of Johnny, has paired with Genesis Sasuman at Letran and later made their names popular.
John Ferriols, the grandson of Tia Consoling Bilbao, was born in Davao but was popular here in the defunct MBA. Transferring his wares to the PBA was easy just like his contemporaries in the beleaguered Metropolitan Basketball Association.
Nap Hatton of Barangay Sum-ag once played for Pepsi Cola but returned home to retire for good. So does the most popular of them all Rudy Distrito, “The Destroyer,” henchman of Ginebra's Robert Jaworski who made Magsungay a byword.
The courage of Rudy could not be questioned as he even once challenged the legendary Caloy Loyzaga and his children playing in the PBA.
So you see, PBA has been a part of Bacolod City. Its popularity just died down a bit when the "organizers and men behind" Negros Slashers shifted their attention to the MBA which ironically died a natural death.
Well, Rain or Shine never allowed the fans of its opponent to Talk ‘N Text. But it is only one game. There will be more to come and that's what Bacolodnons are waiting.
With last Saturday's turnout, the organizers will most likely ask for another, if not more.
Encore to that.