Rain or Shine played tough every inch of the way, outlasting Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, 105-101, in an overtime battle to clinch the last best-of-three quarterfinals spot in the PLDT Home TVolution PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Sunday night.
The Elasto Painters overcame Gabe Freeman’s 23-point first-half explosion and the rampages of the Ginebra locals later on as Rain or Shine thwarted Ginebra to finish at fourth place in the elimination round with a 5-4 win-loss record.
“This is where we wanted to be. That’s what we worked for tonight. We got to a bad start in the conference, and all we wanted was to be in the quarters on even match without any disadvantage,” said RoS coach Yeng Guiao on their coming best-of-three quarterfinals matchup with fifth seed Meralco beginning Monday.
“We’re all focused on the Ginebra match, so the coaching staff still has work to do tonight. We still need to go through walkthroughs tomorrow (Monday morning),” Guiao also said.
The Kings failed to salvage a place in the Top Six, ending up at eighth (3-6) and thus face a difficult task of winning two in a row versus top seed Talk n Text to make the Final Four.
They had a chance to snatch sixth spot and a best-of-three matchup with the Alaska Aces but squandered a 13-point spread against the gritty E-Painters.
Ginebra was still in the lead, 94-92, before going scoreless in the last 1:35 of regulation play.
Wayne Chism and Paul Lee scored the first two baskets in the extension period, and the E-Painters hung tough all the way to finish fourth in the elims behind Talk n Text (9-0), San Miguel Beer (7-2) and Alaska (6-3).
Rain or Shine and Meralco ended up with identical 5-4 slates but the former took playoffs fourth seeding on a superior quotient.
Chism, merely a defensive force for RoS in his first three games, came out defending and firing as he proved to be a big key in this pivotal game.
“We got the stops that we needed in the endgame. Gabe Freeman proved to be a real matchup problem as I expected. But as I also expected, Chism showed up with what he can do on offense,” Guiao.
The fiery RoS mentor also lauded the efforts put in by his locals.
Chism came through with 30 points and 15 rebounds with Paul Lee adding 25 points and Beau Belga and Jervy Cruz chipping in 10 apiece.
Defensively, the E-Painters worked hard together as they held Freeman to six points after exploding for 23 on 9-of-17 shooting in the first half.
Rain or Shine also had a chance to win the game right in regulation play but Norwood blew their transition attack on an errant pass to Jireh Ibanes.
Getting the loose ball with time running out, Norwood opted not to call a timeout only to bungle the crucial possession.
Freeman came out firing, converting all eight initial field attempts as the Kings took the opening quarter at 30-20 and the half at 50-42.
The E-Painters, however, came back strong in the third quarter, starting with a 21-12 attack to surge ahead at 63-62.
Rain or Shine trailed by two, 70-72, at the end of the third where it gave away two charities on technical fouls called on Belga and Guiao.
The E-Painters then went ahead again as Lee opened the fourth quarter with a booming three-pointer.
Rain or Shine played tough to the finish and ended up fourth in the elims by winning four of its last five games. (SB)
Rain or Shine 105 — Chism 30, Lee 25, Belga 10, Cruz 10, Arana 8, Norwood 7, Chan 6, Nuyles 3, Teng 3, Ibanes 3, Almazan 0, Tiu 0, Tang 0, Rodriuguez 0.
Ginebra 101 — Freeman 29, Slaughter 22, Caguioa 17, Helterbrand 16, Ababou 8, Tenorio 6, Mamaril 3, Baracael 0, ellis 0, Aguilar 0, Urbiztondo 0.
Quarters:20-30; 42-50; 94-94; 105-101
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