Painters grab 2-1 lead
Anyone doubting if Rain or Shine just enjoyed some good fortune the last time out got an answer in the most convincing way Sunday night.
The Elasto Painters started out hot and led by as large as 22 points to highlight a wire-to-wire triumph over Talk ‘N Text, 109-97, for a 2-1 lead in their best-of-seven title playoffs for the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Rain or Shine broke away from the game’s only tie at 3 by dropping a 12-0 bomb and the Painters, from having gone winless in eight previous series games against the mighty Tropang Texters, have now won the last two and are looking super impressive.
The Painters also pounded out the win even after being forced to sit out Paul Lee for more than a 12-minute stretch in the second half after Talk ‘N Text import Ivan Johnson nailed him with a right elbow that bloodied his kisser and rearranged the Rain or Shine point guard’s dental structure.
Wayne Chism tossed in 13 of his 32 in the first period and several others stepped up on both ends for the Painters from there as they took the biggest lead in the series of 22 twice, the last at 94-72 after two Chism free throws going into the final 7:36.
Johnson was offensive-minded and finished with 30, but it was clear that he lost his focus on several instances, especially at the height of the Rain or Shine breakaway in the third period.
Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao attributed the victory to team defense, and to a fresher lineup that is the result of the limited minutes he has been giving his players since the start of the season.
“We played fantastic defense tonight,” Guiao said. “It is just the determination of the players to play good defense, that’s all.”
Lee, the former Rookie of the Year who is the Painters’ leader, left the game with 5:07 left in the third period after getting a wayward elbow from Johnson.
The 6-foot dynamo will be seeing a dentist after the game after he lost a tooth aside from his two upper front teeth being pushed slightly inward and upwards.
He returned with 4:23 left and helped preserve the win by hitting a layup and issuing two assists.
Twenty-four of the 39 teams that have taken a 2-1 lead after a 1-1 tie went on to win the title.
RAIN OR SHINE 109—Chism 32, Lee 17, Cruz Jericho 14, Chan 12, Quinahan 9, Norwood 6, Tiu 6, Belga 6, Almazan 4, Cruz Jervy 2, Tang 1, Ibanes 0, Arana 0.
TALK ‘N TEXT 97—Johnson 30, Castro 20, Fonacier 16, De Ocampo 16, Alas 8, Rosser 5, Washington 2, Carey 0, Williams 0, Aban 0.
Quarters: 32-26, 52-45, 84-65, 109-97
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