Rain or Shine takes home game 1 vs San Mig CoffeeBy Celest R. Flores
MANILA, Philippines—Rain or Shine hung tough in the fourth for a 91-83 game victory over San Mig Coffee Wednesday in the 2012 PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Elastopainters, behind Paul Lee, never relinquished their lead in the payoff period, even with the Mixers constantly trying to find an entry to take over.
Lee poured nine of his 15 points in the payoff period, but pivotal baskets from Beau Belga and Gabe Norwood and Jervy Cruz’ sturdy rebounding carried them through.
Norwood’s fingerroll of the break made it an 85-76 lead for Rain or Shine with 4:16—enough space to withstand San Mig’s last ditch rally, which Belga quelled with a teardrop with over two minutes left.
Norwood, who scored all but one of his five points in the fourth, nailed two crucial free throws before two offensive rebounds from the Elastopainters secured their victory.
“We executed our offense well, we moved the ball well. Those are the things that coaches will be happy about, the rebounding and assists department,” said head coach Yeng Guiao.
Cruz had 15 of Rain or Shine’s 48 rebounds, a continuation of his performance thus fur, which is looking like his breakout season.
Jeff Chan, meanwhile, shrugged off his scoring woes with 18 points even as Larry Rodriguez stepped up with 15—11 of which in the third quarter.
The Mixers never really got into the groove and never had a quarter where they outscored the Elastopainters.
Marc Barroca came alive in the fourth quarter, while Yancy de Ocampo hit a huge trey to put them within 81-85 with over a minute to play—but their efforts just wouldn’t suffice.
De Ocampo led with 17 points while James Yap struggled with 11 points on 3-of-14 shots for San Mig Coffee, which looks to rebound on Friday in game two.