For the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, a lot can happen in a span of two months.
When PBA Season 48 began, the Elasto Painters were met with defeat after defeat. November wasn’t exactly a month to remember for Rain or Shine as the victories simply eluded them. Was it because the rest of the league got better? Did they have a terrible import? Maybe it just wasn’t their year.
It turns out, all the Elasto Painters needed was for the calendar to flip to December.
Rain or Shine has not dropped a game since November 29, which was also Demetrius Treadwell’s first game replacing DaJuan Summers. During their five-game losing streak, the Elasto Painters lost by an average margin of 6.5 points, with the 113-103 defeat against the NorthPort Batang Pier being their only double-digit loss. In this current four-game winning streak, though, Rain or Shine has won by double-digits twice, with the average margin of victory at 7.8 points.
The Elasto Painters have definitely earned some consideration as the PBA’s hottest team, as they ended the Magnolia Hotshots’ unbeaten run at seven games. Rain or Shine managed to jump right back into the postseason race and continues to cling to the last quarterfinal slot in the 2023-2024 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Playoffs. Their latest win against the Terrafirma Dyip not only brings the Elasto Painters’ record to 4-5, but it also solidifies their grip on that last quarterfinal slot.
Head coach Yeng Guiao could not have hoped for a more balanced offense from Rain or Shine, as seven players scored at least seven points, with Beau Belga leading the team with 18 points. Scoring aside, it was the Elasto Painters’ defense that proved crucial as their rebounding advantage (57-41) negated the 56 percent shooting of the Dyip from behind the 3-point line.
The mid-conference turnaround also comes as Rain or Shine’s younger players take on more roles. The likes of Santi Santillan, Andrei Caracut, and Jhonard Clarito have assumed more responsibilities as the roles of the likes of Belga and Gabe Norwood have diminished. Moreover, the emergence of rookie Keith Datu has not gone unnoticed and only provides more depth to the Elasto Painters’ frontcourt.
With a week to prepare for their last two assignments against the on-and-off TNT Tropang Giga and the slumping Converge FiberXers, the opportunity is there for Rain or Shine. It will be exciting to see how they close out the season and aim for a better standing, as the Elasto Painters would prefer to take their chances against the Phoenix Fuel Masters, who they lost to by a single point, as compared to the Hotshots, who will definitely be a tougher opponent in the quarterfinals.
Don’t let the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters’ 4-5 record fool you; there was a time they were on the outside looking in. As it stands, the Elasto Painters continue to control their postseason fate and how they navigate through this winnable yet crucial stretch will determine if this turnaround ends with a bang or a whimper.