Rain or Shine hangs on, forces a Game 7
AFTER all the great action, the cheap shots on the floor, a missing tooth and the wives of the players ultimately getting it on themselves, it all boiled down to the one game where winning a championship is sweetest.
Fighting hardest in the first of two knockout matches it needs to win, Rain or Shine scored a 101-93 victory over Talk ‘N Text Sunday night to take their PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals duel to a Game 7 at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.
Wayne Chism scored 18 points and had 24 rebounds, Raymond Almazan also tossed in 18 that went with 10 boards and Rain or Shine spread out its offense as best it could to control action from the second quarter on to take the psychological edge going into Wednesday’s decider of this best-of-seven series.
Play returned to what it was in the first four games with Ivan Johnson again becoming temperamental to help doom the Tropang Texters, who trailed by 16 at one point and spent the last three periods trying to catch up.
Johnson was again out of focus, finishing with just six points and six rebounds while seemingly trying to pick a fight with everyone from Rain or Shine, prompting Elasto Painters’ coach Yeng Guiao to issue a verbal blast.
“I think he is mentally unstable,” Guiao said of the Talk ‘N Text import, who had one crucial stretch of bad plays early in the fourth quarter that didn’t help the Texters any in their rally. “But I think that (instability) is helping us.”
Game 5, which the Texters won handily, 103-94 on Friday, was relatively calm compared to the other five games of the series.
But last night, Johnson was at it again, clipping Paul Lee in the face when the Rain or Shine point guard was driving to the hoop. Johnson even chased Chris Tiu when Tiu broke up a pass intended for the Talk ‘N Text import late in the fourth.
“What do you need to do to get a flagrant foul [called on Johnson]?” Guiao asked after officials slapped just a regular foul on Johnson on the Lee incident. “He wasn’t even after the ball. He knew he would get Paul’s face.”
Lee finished with 16 points and Jeff Chan battled through pain to shoot 11 that included two triples. Rookie Jericho Cruz was the fifth player in twin digits for the Painters with 10.
Ranidel de Ocampo sustained his offensive form and paced the Texters with 21, with Jason Castro adding 17 and Jay Washington 14. The missing link proved to be Johnson whose lackluster game coach Jong Uichico dismissed as something out of the ordinary.
RAIN OR SHINE 101—Almazan 18, Chism 18, Lee 16, Chan 11, Cruz Jericho 10, Quinahan 9, Tiu 7, Norwood 6, Ibanes 3, Arana 3, Uyloan 0, Belga 0.
TALK ‘N TEXT 93—De Ocampo 21 Castro 17, Washington 14, Carey 13, Fonacier 11, Johnson 6, Alas 4, Williams 4, Rosser 3, Aban 0.
Quarters: 23-18, 54-42, 76-71, 101-93