Playing against a Ginebra squad with a clear sense of urgency, the top-seeded Rain or Shine Elasto Painters had enough firepower in the end to come up with a 92-91 tight victory and advance to the tournament’s next round held at the Mall of Asia Arena.
A defensive-themed start was displayed by both teams that made it a sloppy ball game for the first seven minutes as the teams combined for 16 quiet points. Off the bench, Gabe Norwood gave the Elasto Painters their first taste of the lead at 15-13 with a triple. Rain or Shine eventually led by three at the end of the first as Joshua Uyloan broke the 18-point deadlock. Big man Greg Slaughter did well in his start for Ginebra with a quick double-double in the first 12 minutes.
Things started to become chippy and physical during the second period as a flurry of early fouls slowed the pace of the match. Dunigan struggled making his shots from point blank while three pointers from Wayne Chism and Jericho Cruz extended their lead to 28-23. As Ginebra’s defense left ROS’ shooters wide open, the Painters capitalized from the perimeter to hold on with the edge they had.
The scoreboard was stuck at 37-29 in favor of the Elasto Painters for quite some time in the second period as an exchange of misses and turnovers were committed by both teams. In the last three minutes of the half, Ginebra’s three-guard lineup helped them outscore their opponent 13-4 to grab the lead. However, Jayjay Helterbrand committed a poor foul on Jeff Chan, while Chan attempted a three pointer with 1.3 seconds to go in the first half as Rain or Shine entered the break with the slight edge.
The tight game continued in the second half with both teams having a hard time pulling away from the other. Mark Caguioa’s 16 foot jumper made it a 50-46 affair in favor of the Kings. Quick to respond were the Painters to take the lead with their transition game in display. In the 5:24 mark, a mini-scuffle between Chism and Japeth Aguilar was quickly separated by a timeout in the intense ball game.
Just when the third quarter was about to end, LA Tenorio missed a reverse layup but Japeth Aguilar followed it up with a two-handed throw down to give Ginebra a five-point lead while also waking up their crowd entering the fourth.
Ginebra maintained their lead in the fourth as they focused on their interior defense to thwart the bigs of Rain or Shine. With Dunigan continuing his slump from the field, which included his free throws, the Elasto Painters hung on in the game down by a few possessions. Down six, Almazan scored on a fake, fishing a foul to trim the lead in half.
As the game went down the wire, Almazan hit a triple to tie things up at 84. Both teams scored three points each with less than two minutes to play. Afterwhich, Jeff Chan drained in a big triple from the wing off the dribble with 93 seconds to play to give ROS a 90-87 edge. Mark Caguioa countered quickly with a pull-up jumper after the timeout, even managing to make a stop on the other end.
In the ensuing play, Slaughter gave Ginebra the lead once again with a basket while blocking Almazan in the next play. However, Ginebra muffed its next play as Jeff Chan swiped the ball en route to a wide-open fast break layup with 4.9 ticks left in regulation while also giving them a one point lead. Helterbrand then threw up a wild layup that hit nothing but the shotclock to seal the deal for Rain or Shine.
Rain or Shine scored more on the break 20-7 despite being outrebounded by a huge margin, 49-69. They were also plus eight in terms of made three pointers while also committing less errors, 22-30.
Rain or Shine (92) – Chism 17, Chan 17, Almazan 17, Lee 9, Norwood 9, Uyloan 5, Cruz 4, Araña 4, Quiñahan 4, Teng 2, Tiu 2, Tang 0
Ginebra (91) – Slaughter 26, Caguioa 14, Aguilar 14, Dunigan 11, Tenorio 7, Urbiztondo 7, Helterbrand 5, Yeo 4, Baracael 3, Ellis 0
Quarters: 21-18, 44-42, 63-68, 92-91
*Photo by Nuki Sabio*
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