MANILA, Philippines—Rain or Shine barged into the finals of the 2012-2013 PBA Philippine Cup Thursday after frustrating San Mig Coffee, 90-83, in game six at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Elastopainters owned the offensive glass, and banked on a stiffling 28-5 edge in second chance points over the Mixers to stave off a dangerous game seven.
“I’m really glad it’s over, at least for this series,” said Guiao. “I was just telling the guys that it’s either we finish off San Mig in game seven or they’ll finish us off in game seven.
Jeff Chan scored 27 points for the Elastopainters, who—just a conference removed from their first ever franchise championship—are back in the final stage anew, this time without an import.
And coach Yeng Guiao, who has a chance to nab his first All-Filipino Cup title, owes Rain or Shine’s transformation to the league’s stronger teams to that title.
“This is a younger team. We’re coming straight off a championship which contributed to our mental strength. The experience really helped us,” said Guiao.
First time to get outscored in the series in the first half, 52-48, the Elastopainters came out with intensity that was hard to match in the final two quarters.
Chan poured 18 of his 27 points in the second half including a backbreaking trey from way out, which stretched Rain or Shine’s lead to 80-73, with 6:12 left.
Paul Lee also delivered 15 points, Jervy Cruz had 14 and Gabe Norwood had 10 for the Elastopainters, who only held the lead for the good in the final 7:50.
Rain or Shine faces the winner of the Talk ’N Text-Alaska series, which could end either on Friday or Monday next week.
James Yap continued to struggle as Peter June Simon was left all alone to work doubly hard to bring on the points for the Mixers.
Simon finished with a game-best 29 points, but hardly had help as key guys like Mark Barroca and Yap only chipped in six apiece.
The Mixers, though, came out firing at first but just tired out and got frustrated in the second half and couldn’t sustain their attacks.
Yap pushed San Mig Coffee to the final deadlock of the ballgame, 73-73, three and a half minutes into the payoff period, but that was the last he would score.