Ginebra unscathed in the PBA semis, claws Rain or ShineBy Celest R. Flores
MANILA, Philippines – Ginebra bolstered its chances of barging into the finals after frustrating Rain or Shine in a 95-86 triumph in the 2012 PBA Governors’ Cup semi-finals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Thursday night.
The Gin Kings, in a prime position to land either of the top two spots with an 8-4 card, seized total control in the second half and checked the Elastopainters’ top source in offense Jamelle Cornley.
With the chants of MVP buzzing all night long, Mark Caguiao of Ginebra thrived under the pressure of lifting his team anew as he whipped out 29 points, seven rebounds along with two assist and two steals.
Caguioa waxed hot in the pivotal third quarter where the Gin Kings created separation from the dangerous league leaders by turning a deadlock at 45 to a double-digit edge, 70-60.
Ginebra stayed unscathed in the single round robin semi-finals while defending champion Petron bowed out of contention, unable to reach the required number of victories.
Import Cedric Bozeman served as Caguiao’s back up, not only in churning out the points but by cleaning the boards as he finished with 19 points and 14 rebounds.
Rudy Hatfield, who also had eight points to add to the total, became the 36th player to reach the 2000th mark in rebounds after grabbing 12 rebounds Thursday night.
Rain or Shine, though, went down swinging and pulled within five, 80-85, on a bucket by Paul Lee plus the bonus – but the momentum and the rally was quickly wiped away by Ginebra behind Hatfield and Bozeman.
The berth at the finals remained within earshot for the Elastopainters, but the loss which put them at 9-4, just paved way for others teams to get an equal shot.
Lee solidified his claim for rookie-of-the-year by pacing Rain or Shine with a team-high 19 points, but didn’t draw enough support from his cast with Jeff Chan adding 14 points.
Cornley was held to 13 points, eight rebounds and six assist for the Elastopainters – outplayed by his counterport Bozeman.