Rain or Shine slight favorite over Alaska as they break 1-1 tie
MANILA, Philippines — Rain or Shine and Alaska break their 1-1 tie in their PBA Governors’ Cup Final Four series Tuesday with the Elasto Painters enjoying the momentum going into the 8 p.m.contest at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.
After dropping the series-opener narrowly last Saturday, the Painters bounced back emphatically Sunday night to score a 99-87 win that was more lopsided than what the final score said.
Rain or Shine also pulled off the win even with Gabe Norwood watching the game with a heavily taped right ankle as guard Paul Lee, Jeff Chan and Chris Tiu combined for 49 points to negate his absence.
So dominant were the Painters in Game 2 that Alaska import Henry Walker and power forward Gabby Espinas blew their tops, with Espinas being summoned to appear at the Commissioner’s OfficeTuesday.
The 6-foot-4 Espinas had his second brush with game officials in the series after hollering at referee Emi Tanquion.
He was ejected after taking successive technical fouls early in the fourth period. In Game 1, Espinas also warded off the arm of a game official while he was being hauled away from a confrontation with a Rain or Shine player.
Norwood twisted his right ankle badly in Game 1, and his absence gave Walker the opportunity to score 14 fourth-quarter points and complete Alaska’s come-from-behind win.
Coach Yeng Guiao plugged that hole Sunday night, throwing Arizona Reid on Walker early on before alternating several locals to defend against the volatile Alaska import.
Beau Belga got Walker’s goat early in the second period, and Walker responded by giving the burly Rain or Shine center a football tackle from behind that resulted in Alaska’s Calvin Abueva being knocked down and Walker taking a mandatory rest.
Reid has also been spectacular offensively in the series, shooting 27 points in Game 2 with Lee making up for a lackluster end to the series-opener with 21 points.
It was Lee who instigated a second-quarter breakaway while Walker was cooling his heels on the bench before coming up big in the stretch after Alaska had chopped down a 26-point third-quarter deficit to just eight.
That Alaska run was slowed down by the Espinas incident, however, as Lee canned both free throws to restore order to the Rain or Shine offense.