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Rain or Shine survives Fajardo’s 40-20 game to take Game Three

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In a highly physical and emotional game, the injury-crippled Rain or Shine Elasto Painters managed to put up a powerful fourth quarter to fend off the San Miguel Beermen for the second straight game of their semis series, 111-106, to take a 2-1 lead held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Saturday.

San Miguel trailed by eight in the early goings, but responded with a 13-1 counter, which included three triples from Marcio Lassiter, that gave SMB a 17-13 lead. A slow first quarter ensued after three halts to separate physical plays by Ronald Tubid, Ryan Araña, Chris Lutz, and Beau Belga. Rain or Shine drilled three more triples before the period ended, but SMB took care of the ball better, which led to a slim 27-26 advantage.

Belga scored six in the Painters early 12-4 surge to start the second quarter. In addition, assists piled up as the frontcourt for RoS got easy baskets underneath the rim. The Painters responded to three triples loaded by Ronald Tubid. However, the Beermen erased a nine-point deficit, as June Mar Fajardo tied the game at 50, with 2:21 left in the first half. Afterwards, Rain or Shine closed the half on an impressive 8-0 run to take a 58-50 lead at the break.

The game of runs continued in the second half, started by the Beermen’s 7-0 run through Fajardo’s aggressive presence. On the Painters’ end, Paul Lee converted on perimeter jumpers to restore their cushion at 62-55. After a timeout, SMB converted three quick hits in less than a minute, to ignite their third quarter run. They went on to outscore the painters, 36-20, and led by eight heading into the last quarter.

A composed Rain or Shine team went on a 13-5 blitz in less than five minutes to tie the game again at 91. Ponferada, Norwood, and Tiu led the Painters in making the fourth quarter joust a close one, as their team regained the lead in the succeeding minutes.

The Painters lost their lead momentarily on a mini-run put up by the Beermen, but two straight bombs by Belga and Cruz gave them a 102-98 lead with 3:30 left on the clock. After a series of possessions, Fajardo and Lassiter knocked down huge baskets, which cut the lead to 107-106. After another stop by the Beermen, Lassiter missed a potential lead-grabbing floater.

This resulted in a loose ball scuffle between him and Jericho Cruz, in which the latter crashed to the stands after a bump, and got stretchered out of the court after seemingly injuring his knee in the fall. Lassiter was assessed with a flagrant foul with five seconds left to play that ultimately gave the Painters the victory after Chris Tiu’s four straight free throws.

Sinasabi samin ni coach na kapag mabilis yung laro, pabor samin. Kasi na rin siguro si June Mar mahihirapan makipagsabayan in 40 minutes na continuous na tumatakbo eh. Tinake advantage namin yun and sana ma-sustain sa next games namin” said Belga, who scored 14 points and was the primary defender against SMB’s bigman.

The Painters also played without Raymond Almazan, who had previously sprained his ankle. This enabled the Beermen to grab more rebounds, 58-45. However, Rain or Shine ended up plus 12 from beyond-the-arc, and had more fast break points, 30-17.

For San Miguel, Fajardo tallied 40 points, 20 rebounds, and three blocks in nearly 38 minutes of action. Lassiter added 22 markers including six triples.

The Scores:
Rain or Shine (111) – Lee 18, Belga 14, Chan 13, Norwood 13, Tiu 12, Ponferada 12, Quiñahan 8, Cruz 6, Nimes 5, Trollano 0.
San Miguel Beer (106) – Fajardo 40, Lassiter 22, Santos 12, Tubid 11, Cabagnot 8, Lutz 6, Espinas 5, Reyes 2, Ross 0, Araña 0.
Quarterscores: 27-26, 50-58, 78-86, 111-106.

Videos courtesy of Sports5

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