B-Meg strikes back, squares series at 1-1By Musong R. Castillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
B-MEG tied the best-of-seven series for the PBA Governors Cup at 1-all last night with an 85-80 victory over Rain or Shine that lost super rookie Paul Lee due to injury with the game still in the balance at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Lee dislocated his left shoulder with 2 minutes 22 seconds to play and B-Meg coach Tim Cone and superstar gunner James Yap later expressed hope that the crack guard would recover to finish the best-of-seven title series.
“Yes, we want to win. But we don’t want to win when someone gets knocked out,” Cone said after getting big shot after big shot from Yap in the stretch. “The job will most likely be easier if Lee is ruled out of the series.
“He’s basically their best player. It’s like us losing James,” Cone said. “It wouldn’t make me comfortable to see him out. I would like to see him come back.”
Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao, though, is seeing things differently.
“We will win this series—with or without Paul Lee,” Guiao boldly declared, echoing a sentiment that Northern Cement’s Ron Jacobs made in 1985 during a championship series.
“We have no excuses. We will not complain,” Guiao said. “Tim Cone asked help from the referees (after the Game 1 loss) and he got a lot of help.”
Yap drilled a prayer of a one-hander with 2:42 left for 78-74 before disaster struck the Painters when Lee tried to tap the ball away from Peter June Simon in the next Rain or Shine offensive.
Meanwhile, Barangay Ginebra gunslinger Mark Caguioa won a second straight Best Player of the Conference award in dominating style.
Caguioa tallied a total of 1,121 points after finishing second in the statistical points race behind Powerade’s Gary David and topping the media votes by getting 34 first place nods and one second place vote worth a combined 482 points.
Lee finished second with 694 total points.
Sharing the limelight with Caguioa last night, just before tip-off of Game 2 of the Finals, was Rain or Shine’s Jamelle Cornley, who won the Best Import award over B-Meg’s Marcus Blakely.
B-MEG 85—Blakely 26, Yap 24, Simon 16, Barroca 8, De Ocampo 6, Villanueva 2, Pingris 2, Reavis 1, Urbiztondo 0.
RAIN OR SHINE 80—Cornley 18, Chan 12, Lee 11, Cruz 10, Norwood 9, Buenafe 7, Ibañes 7, Belga 4, Araña 2, Tang 0, Quiñahan 0.
Quarters: 21-26, 44-41, 65-60, 85-80