Painters try to apply broom on Aces tonight
A CAMPAIGN that started off on the wrong foot for Rain or Shine can have a Cinderella ending tonight as the Elasto Painters try to apply the broom on the Alaska Aces in their best-of-seven championship series for the Oppo-PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
Wayne Chism limped out of Rain or Shine’s second game, and after two more imports that didn’t really fit the bill as far as the team’s needs goes, the Painters are on the verge of joining an elite list of champions with a win in Game 4 at 7 p.m. at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The offensive shortcomings of Rain or Shine’s fourth import, the burly Pierre Henderson-Niles, turned out to be a blessing for the squad which has managed to display the full might of its balanced local roster.
A win would give the Painters just their second franchise championship and snap a drought that dates back to 2012.
It would also highlight their dominance of these playoffs as they have lost just one game against powerhouses Barangay Ginebra and San Miguel Beer in the quarterfinals and the Final Four, respectively.
Yeng Guiao’s first championship, achieved with import Tony Harris and the defunct Swift in 1990, also came via a sweep of Pepsi.
The Aces are the only team that blew a 3-0 lead to lose in a championship showdown, bowing to San Miguel in the Philippine Cup less than four months ago.
And while Alaska showed resiliency by bouncing back from that harrowing experience and making the Finals, coach Alex Compton said it is not by design that they are in the same hole they put the Beermen into the last time they were in a Finals.
Guiao said the key to their dominance of the Aces has been his squad’s ability to break Alaska’s press.
“We have the players to break their defense,” he said on Wednesday night after a 112-108 win.
Compton, on the other hand, rued his players’ lack of effort in the middle two quarters of Game 3 that had them trailing by as large as 27 points late in the third period.
“We dishonored the game by not playing with intensity,” he said.
Meanwhile, Alaska’s Calvin Abueva is expected to win his first Player of the Conference award in simple rites before tip-off.
Henderson-Niles, Rob Dozier of Alaska and Arinze Onuaku of Meralco will be disputing the Best Import honor.