MANILA, Philippines — Paul Lee had a great look on an open left corner triple, Jeff Chan had a “gimme” and so did Gabe Norwood on a third try — all those opportunities came for Rain or Shine in the waning seconds of the game.
All those chances blown as the Elasto Painters became part of history — at the wrong end of it — as the ninth team with twice-to-beat advantage to get booted out since the incentive was institutionalized in 1996.
“Hindi lang talaga para sa amin,” Lee told INQUIRER.net after their 79-81 loss to an injury-depleted Barangay Ginebra late Monday night. “Marami kaming chances, open three points ko malapitan ni Jeff ng putback hindi pumasok, tip in ni Gabe sablay pa rin.”
“Disappointing loss. I thought we had a great conference. We looked good all throughout the elimination round. I thought we could have gone to the Finals,” said guard Chris Tiu.
“It’s a disappointment how the conference ended for us because I felt this team doesn’t deserve to go out this early but then again we didn’t play up to par in our last two, three games that’s why we’re on vacation early,” added Tiu. “But that’s basketball.”
For a moment in Game 1, Rain or Shine lived up to its billing as the heavy favorite as it zoomed to a commanding lead in the third quarter with seven minutes left.
That though, became just part of the plot as the Kings, driven by their unwavering crowd and led by one of their veterans Jayjay Helterbrand turning back the clock, rallied to win.
“It was all in the first game when we sort of messed up our second half it gave them the confidence and it gave them the momentum that they needed and that’s really the game changer,” Tiu pointed out. “We could have put the game away in the third quarter of Game 1 but then we made some mistakes both ends on the court and it gave them energy, gave them new life.”
“And that’s Ginebra, they just need a spark and they can be really dangerous.”