Smith finished with 31 points on 11-of-15 shooting along with 18 rebounds, two assists, and a block — a showing way different from the 16-point outing he had in the series opener over the past weekend where he went 2-for-11.
The 6-foot-9 center was also pivotal for the Elite down the stretch, hitting a fadeaway jumper to push their lead to 97-93 with 44.7 seconds left. That closed the door for the Elasto Painters, who fought back from 14 points down.
“He vowed to really play well tonight. Talagang gusto niya makabawi from that Game One loss. I thank him for that,” said Blackwater head coach Aris Dimaunahan of Smith. “It’s the real Greg Smith na naglaro tonight.”
Rookie Ray Parks had 28 points, seven rebounds, two assists, two steals, and a block against a team-high five turnovers in the win. He failed to finish Game Two, though, as he incurred his sixth and final foul with 1:02 left in the match.
Mac Belo had 14 points, three boards, two assists, and a steal, as Mike DiGregorio chimed in 13 markers.
“The players played really, really, really well. They refused to lose tonight,” Dimaunahan lauded. “Ayaw pa namin talaga mag-bakasyon and that’s a commitment we all have, that we wanna make it to the next phase.”
“But then again it’s not gonna be easy, especially playing against a veteran, smart and tough Rain or Shine, a very well-coached team. I’m just glad that we finally got a playoff win tonight. I just congratulate them for doing so,” he continued.
Rain or Shine was led by rookie Javee Mocon, who had a career-high 25 points with five rebounds and two assists.
Beau Belga and Mark Borboran produced 13 points apiece while import Carl Montgomery got limited to just 11 points on 4-of-16 shooting, though he made up for it by collecting 15 rebounds, an assist, a steal, and a block.
The Elasto Painters missed the services of Ed Daquioag due to a leg injury, per RoS head coach Caloy Garcia.
The deciding Game Three is on Thursday, July 25, at 7:00 PM still at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
Blackwater 100 – Smith 31, Parks 28, Belo 14, Digregorio 13, Sena 4, Maliksi 3, Javier 3, Desiderio 2, Cortez 2, Sumang 0, Al-Hussaini 0.
Rain or Shine 96 – Mocon 25, Borboran 13, Belga 13, Alejandro 12, Montgomery 11, Rosales 10, Nambatac 9, Ponferada 2, Onwubere 1, Norwood 0.
Quarterscores: 24-15, 38-35, 68-64, 100-96