The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters held a 20-point lead in Game One but a furious San Miguel Beermen rally demolished the lead and steal the game.
Again, the Rain or Shine Elasto held a 21-point margin early in the fourth quarter in Game Two. With another meltdown threatening to put them on an 0-2 hole, Jeff Chan and the Elasto Painters were able to hold on in a 105-97 win against the Beermen to tie their semifinals series at 1-1 Thursday evening at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
Both teams tweaked their starting lineups to shake things up in Game Two. However for the Beermen, their initial three-pointers were not falling consistently, while Rain or Shine played to be the aggressor in the early-goings of the game. The Elasto Painters pushed to an early 15-10 lead with all their initial men igniting the fast start.
Raymond Almazan and Gabe Norwood each had an open slam dunk in the first quarter that pushed the lead to double digits. In addition, already nine Painters entered the scoring column. This exposed SMB’s slow start, not only in the defensive, but also in the offensive end, as they had a five-minute drought that resulted to only 15 points with nine turnovers after 12 minutes of play.
A resurgent Jeff Chan also showed up, as he led the bench mob in increasing their lead in the second period. They opened it up with an 8-2 spurt to tie their largest lead of Game One at 22, 39-17.
San Miguel tried to assert June Mar Fajardo, as the center was able to fish for successive fouls that gave him a busy time from the foul stripe. As things get chippy in the near-end of the first half involving a handful of technical fouls called on multiple personnel, San Miguel was able to slice seven points before the break, while shooting a horrendous 28% clip.
Rain or Shine unleashed a 10-0 start in the new half, including back-to-back threes from rookie Maverick Ahanmisi. However, the Beermen countered with their intense defense that led to their own 10-1 in a small amount of time.
Momentum slowly shifted to the Beermen, as Fajardo and Alex Cabagnot asserted themselves to propel the Beermen to another seemingly second half fightback. On the other hand, Rain or Shine, who had a 6-minute silence without making a basket, was able to weather the storm behind key baskets by Paul Lee.
Good ball movement for the Elasto Painters extended their lead, 88-67 two minutes into the final frame. Behind the banged up Fajardo and a hot-handed Cabagnot, SMB managed to slice 10 points off in the next five minutes.
Jeff Chan then knocked down two pivotal threes to restore a baker’s dozen lead with 2:28 left. After a timeout, the Beermen put up seven fast points in the next 30 seconds. However, SMB failed to bolster their last stand, while Paul Lee, JR Quinahan, and Jeff Chan secured Game Two with free throws.
Rain or Shine had more rebounds, 61-49 and scored five more points from the foul stripe. They also had more second chance points after the game, 17-9.
Chan, who was scoreless in Game One, bounced back this time around with 16 points and four assists off the bench. After the match he opened up in saying that he needed to step-up after a disappointing Game One. “Naging aggressive ako,” the National Team sharpshooter said. “Pero kung lumamang kami, kailangan talaga ingatan, hindi puwede na yung ganun. Hindi kami puwede maging tentative.”
Five other Elasto Painters finished in double-figures with Don Trollano scoring 13 and JR Quinahan adding 12 markers. Paul Lee, Gabe Norwood, and Raymond Almazan also had excellent outings.
Fajardo had another monstrous game in putting up 38 points and 17 rebounds. However, the reigning MVP shot just 12/22 from the free throw area. Cabagnot also had a splendid outing in the loss, scoring 24 markers on 9/18 shooting.
Rain or Shine (105) – Chan 16, Trollano 13, Quinahan 12, Lee 11, Norwood 10, Almazan 10, Ahanmisi 9, Cruz 8. Belga 7, Ponferada 6, Tiu 3.
San Miguel Beer (97) – Fajardo 38, Cabagnot 24, Lassiter 13, Santos 10, Tubid 7, Lutz 3, Espinas 2, Omolon 0, De Ocampo 0, Ross 0, Arana 0, Heruela 0, Reyes 0.
Quarterscores: 31-15, 59-34, 75-66, 105-97.
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