Rain or Shine escapes Iran B in 2OT to clinch first win in 2023 Jones Cup

Ange Kouame and Rain or Shine finally entered the winning column of the 2023 Jones Cup (Jones Cup photo)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

The Rain or Shine Elastopainters survived a meltdown against team Iran B and needed two overtimes to pull off a 98-90 victory to bag their first William Jones Cup win last August 16, 2023, held at the Taipei Heping Gymnasium.

Still trailing by 10 points, 74-64, with only 3:44 remaining in the fourth quarter of the highly-anticipated rivalry clash, Iran B showed nerves of steel led by their on-point defensive schemes to hold Rain or Shine scoreless until the final regulation buzzer sounded.

During that stretch, Iran B cruised to a 10-0 offensive run that forced the first extra period. Andrei Caracut had the chance to sink a game-winner when he had enough time for a catch-and-shoot but his shot went off the rim.

Iran B kicked off the first overtime with waxing hot offense to build a three-point lead, 77-80, but Rain or Shine’s reinforcement Ange Kouame worked hard underneath to score a foul-counted deuce that deadlocked the game again at 80-all.

With the score tied at 83-all with only four seconds remaining, Mac Belo hoisted a top-of-the-key shot from downtown but his attempt was too strong and bounced hard from the ring.

Kouame had the grasp of the offensive rebound but the time wasn’t enough for another offensive tip-in that would’ve won them the game.

Rain or Shine then stepped it up in the final overtime led by Anton Asistio who generated the game’s biggest five-point swing with only 1:19 remaining.

After ignoring Kouame’s screen to find a wider space in the right elbow, Asistio quickly cashed in a long trey that extended Rain or Shine’s advantage to five points, 93-88.

Asistio wasn’t done with his heroics and followed it up with a beautiful drop pass in the shaded lane to the wide-open Kouame that gave the Elastopainters a 95-88 lead.

Iran B tried to replicate its clutch showing in the final stretch of the second overtime but the Elastopainters were wise enough to defend without fouling from the three-point line.

Kouame led Rain or Shine with 20 points, nine rebounds, and nine blocks backstopped by Caracut who contributed 19 big markers.