Rain or Shine ousts Petron, gains Finals
MANILA, Philippines — Even with their firebrand coach more than an hour’s drive away, the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters breathed fire on the floor and booked a return trip to the PLDT MyDSL Philippine Cup Finals.
With everything clicking in the fourth quarter, the Painters gutted out a 97-88 victory Friday night to see Petron Blaze off in the season-opening tournament and advance to the best-of-seven title series against a yet to be determined foe at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Beau Belga scored his five fourth quarter points during the most critical time and then gave a shout-out to suspended coach Yeng Guiao, who watched the game from his home in Pampanga.
“We did this for you, coach, because we love you,” Belga said in Filipino. “That is why we played this hard all night. For you.”
The burly Belga finished with 18 points and nine rebounds, again stepping up in the final frame when the Painters needed it the most as Rain or Shine advanced to its third title series appearance in the last five conferences.
Investing in Guiao back in the 2011 Commissioner’s Cup might have been the best thing that Rain or Shine management did, as he put together a team that is loaded on all fronts.
The Painters won 12 of their last 13 games counting a 7-0 run to end the elimination round. Their only loss came at the hands of the Boosters, who scored a 106-73 Game 3 win last week.
Petron is also loaded, and after opening up the conference with seven straight wins to set the pace for more than a month, the Boosters are now in an early vacation and with a lot of soul-searching to do in order to find out what went wrong.
The Boosters had control of Game 5 early, opening up several double-digit leads before settling for a 52-45 advantage at the half.
And after assistant coach Caloy Garcia relayed Guiao’s message to the players at halftime, the Painters came out a different team and took a 72-69 lead into the fourth quarter.
Meanwhile, league commissioner Chito Salud and TV5 executive and national coach Chot Reyes have been invited on Wednesday by Congress’ committee on sports and amusements for a hearing on the state of professional basketball.
The hearing, to be presided upon by Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr., will start at 1:30 p.m.
RAIN OR SHINE 97—Belga 18, Chan 17, Lee 16, Araña 10, Norwood 9, Rodriguez 8, Cruz 6, Quiñahan 5, Tang 4, Almazan 2, Nuyles 2, Tiu 0, Teng 0, Ibañes 0.
PETRON 88—Santos 20, Kramer 18, Fajardo 16, Kramer 8, Cabagnot 8, Hubalde 6, Tubid 5, Ross 4, Lutz 2, Taha 1.
Quarters: 22-31, 45-52, 72-69, 97-88
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