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Defense leads Rain or Shine in Game 3 wire-to-wire victory; notch 2-1 series lead

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Powered by a game-long defensive theme, the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters took Game 3 of the Finals as they score a 109-97 victory over the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters while also taking the series lead held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Talk ‘N Text started the game with multiple passes on every possession to give everyone rhythm. Unfortunately, they only had a single field goal in the opening four minutes. The interior defense was superb for Rain or Shine that led to a 13-3 start for the Elasto Painters while playing lockdown defense against Jayson Castro.

Castro played facilitator but the collapsing defense made the offense stagnate for the Texters. On the other hand, a Beau Belga pass to Wayne Chism made it a double-digit spread in favor of RoS at 17-6. Despite Chism already feeling his groove offensively while imitating the James Harden “cooking gesture celebration” after a contested triple, Castro fired back with two of his own to pull TNT within six. At the end of the first, Rain or Shine did well enough for a 32-26 edge.

The high level of physicality started to make its presence felt for both teams in the second period. Chris Tiu provided quick offense from the bench as he scored five straight points for the Elasto Painters to give his squad a 40-28 edge. While perimeter jumpers went wide for Talk ‘N Text, the Painters used a fast counter by running down the floor to maintain their comfortable lead throughout the period.

TNT redeployed Johnson and Castro on the floor as TNT sliced the lead down to single digits, 46-38 with less than five minutes to play in the first half. However, they had a hard time denying the Painters for second chance boards that aided ROS to hold on to their lead heading into the break. Kevin Alas nailed a tough three pointer at the buzzer to make it a seven-point game in favor of Rain or Shine.

With their defense dictating their tempo, Rain or Shine cruised to a 32-20 advantage in scoring over TNT as everything seemed to drop into the basket especially in the tail-end of the third canto. The second unit players stepped up to the call for the Elasto Painters as their energy helped their squad pull away and dominate heading into the last period.

Despite losing Paul Lee in the game for a while due to a collision with Ivan Johnson, Rain or Shine kept pushing the rock with their transition game during the final period. A gorgeous feed by Chris Tiu to JR Quiñahan helped the top-seeded Painters erect a 22-point separation at 93-71.The Texters made a mini scare as they sliced the lead to 13 quickly with successive layups. Rain or Shine scored on a 5-0 quick counter capped by a triple by Jericho Cruz to reinstall a comfortable margin.

Rain or Shine outscored Talk ‘N Text on fastbreak points, 17-5 while also dishing out more assists, 27-11. In addition, the bench provided more offense with 39 points compared to the Texters’ 10.

The scores:

Rain or Shine (109) – Chism 32, Lee 17, Cruz 14, Chan 12, Quiñahan 9, Norwood 6, Belga 6, Tiu 6, Almazan 4, Cruz 2
Talk ‘N Text(97) – Johnson 30, Castro 20, Fonacier 16, De Ocampo 16, Alas 8, Ganuelas-Rosser 5, Washington 2, Carey 0, Williams 0, Aban 0

Quarters: 32-26, 52-45, 84-65, 109-97

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