Rain or Shine trips Alaska, claims crown
AFTER two foiled attempts at nailing the crown, Rain or Shine blew Alaska off the floor last night and finally ended a four-year wait to scale the top of the PBA mountain again.
Paul Lee led a mind-boggling blitzkrieg near the end of the first period that gave the Elasto Painters control and Rain or Shine cruised to a 109-92 victory over the Aces that closed out their Commissioner’s Cup title series, 4-2, before a supportive throng at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Rain or Shine got going through 15 straight Lee points inside the final 2:10 of the opening frame, a streak triggered by a three-point play off a hard foul from Chris Banchero as the Painters entered the second sitting on a 38-24 lead.
That streak had Lee also connecting on four straight triples—the last over the outstretched arms of Alaska import Rob Dozier—as he got the Painters off and running and to the second title in franchise history after their 2012 Governors’ Cup conquest.
Lee was later named Finals MVP.
Rain or Shine had other players contributing to its cause, with the tireless Jericho Cruz firing 17 of his team-high 21 points in the last three quarters.
A total of four locals finished in twin digits for coach Yeng Guiao, who now has seven career titles—all in conferences with imports. He joined Tim Cone as the only coaches to win this conference four times.
“This is for all of those who believed in us, who supported us—our Rain or Shine fans,” Guiao said after emerging from the locker room wearing a championship shirt that was printed as early as last week when the Painters took a 3-0 lead.
Alaska showed its class in accepting the runner-up trophy as a team. Just minutes before, with 1:22 left and the score pegged at 103-88, team owner Fred Uytengsu went to Rain or Shine counterparts Raymund Yu and Terry Que to offer his congratulations.
Guiao also joined Chot Reyes as the second coach to win at least two titles with three different teams, the others being with defunct Swift and Red Bull.
RAIN OR SHINE 109—Cruz 21, Lee 20, Almazan 15, Quiñahan 14, Ahanmisi 8, Chan 8, Henderson-Niles 7, Norwood 7, Belga 4, Tiu 3, Ponferada 2.
ALASKA 92—Abueva 26, Racal 15, Jazul 14, Dozier 11, Baguio 9, Banchero 6, Thoss 6, Hontiveros 3, Exciminiano 2, Baclao 0, Menk 0, Dela Rosa 0.
Quarters: 38-24, 59-49, 84-69, 109-92
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