Rain or Shine books finals ticket in PBA’s 2014 PH Cup
MANILA, Philippines — The gritty Rain or Shine booked a ticket to the finals of the 2014 PLDT MyDSL PBA Philippine Cup after booting out Petron in five games Friday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Elastopainters banked on a strong finish and concluded the best-of-seven series with a 97-88 win sans the fiery head coach Yeng Guiao, who was serving out a one-game ban.
Rain or Shine grabbed the upperhand for good and built a 10-point lead with 1:39 to play on a furious 14-3 run, which started with a tough 3-point play by Gabe Norwood and capped by a fastbreak layup by Paul Lee.
“The players really wanted to win the game today,” said soft-spoken deputy Caloy Garcia, who said Guiao phoned during halftime to give out instructions.
“Coach just reminded our flaws in the first half where we came out really flat. He reminded us to be aggressive on defense,” Garcia added.
Rain or Shine tasted the lead anew late in the third after a triple from Beau Belga and two freethrows from Norwood, but Petron came back to regain the lead 80-79.
The Elastopainters, though, effectively crowded the lane to negate Junmar Fajardo’s towering presence downlow and quickly closed out on the Boosters’ shooters to take over for good.
Belga, who dedicated the win to Guiao who was watching the game in Pampanga, finished with 18 points, nine rebounds, three assists and a steal.
Jeff Chan added 17 points built on three triples and hauled down nine boards while Norwood added nine points, six rebounds and seven dimes.
Rain or Shine will face the victor of the Ginebra-San Mig Coffee match up, which is tied at 2-2.
The Boosters ended the All-Filipino Cup on another disappointing fashion after they had one of the best records in the elimination round.
Petron led by as much as 12, 50-38, on a triple by Marcio Lassiter and a bucket from Arwind Santos in the first half but couldn’t really get an opening to pull away.
Santos, the reigning league most valuable player, wound up with 20 points while Fajardo finished with 16 points but only had five in the payoff period.