Rain or Shine makes Finals
B-Meg awaits KO match rivalBy Cedelf P. Tupas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters took advantage of an erratic and misfiring B-Meg Llamados to hammer out a 92-82 victory in the PBA Governors Cup Wednesday night and claim a franchise first championship appearance at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Jeff Chan fired 16 of his 25 points in the first half as the Painters took control and Rain or Shine held off a strong rally by B-Meg at the stretch to finally book a finals ticket after leading the field all tournament long.
“I never lost faith,” said Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao, whose wards sputtered in the semifinal round and were in danger of being forced into a knockout match for a Finals slot. “I knew we were going to get that win sooner or later.”
“It’s very satisfying for a small team like us with dedicated team owners to make the Finals,” added Guiao.
Rain or Shine would have to wait for its finals opponent though, with B-Meg, Barangay Ginebra and Talk ‘N Text still in contention. B-Meg will face the winner of the second game between Gin Kings-Tropang Texters on Friday for the right to face the Elasto Painters who will have a three-day break before the Finals.
The Llamados struggled with their shot early on and fell behind by 17 midway in the second period.
Rain or Shine stretched that lead early in the third as Gabe Norwood scored on a slam off a Llamados turnover and Jeff Chan hit two free throws following a James Yap miss on the other end to give the Painters a 74-51 cushion.
But the Elasto Painters had to go through some anxious moments before pulling out the victory.
The Llamados, with import Marcus Blakely on the firing end, cut the lead to six, 82-88, with 1:35 remaining. That Blakely basket turned out to be their last field goal as the Elasto Painters valiantly hung on to secure the most important win of the franchise’s history.
“We tried to get to the Finals in the All-Filipino but we lost in Game 7; maybe that’s what motivated the players today,” said co-team owner Raymund Yu. “We’re excited (to be in the Finals).”
The Elasto Painters’ victory was a fitting birthday gift to co-owner Terry Que.
RAIN OR SHINE 92—Chan 25, Cornley 16, Buenafe 11, Cruz 9, Lee 8, Norwood 7, Belga 7, Quiñahan 7, Ibañes 2, Tang 0, Araña 0.
B-MEG 82—Blakely 18, Yap 12, Villanueva 11, Barroca 10, Simon 9, Pingris 8, De Ocampo 6, Gaco 4, Reavis 4, Urbiztondo 0.
Quarters: 23-20, 49-41, 74-58, 92-82