MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) — As the 3-pointers kept falling, Alaska kept toiling in the mud.
The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters collectively found their touch from the outside and they ran away with a 112-108 win to bury the Alaska Aces in a 3-0 hole in the best-of-7 finals series on Wednesday, May 11 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
(HIGHLIGHTS: PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals Game 3 – Alaska vs Rain or Shine)
Rain or Shine shot 13 of its 15 triples in the first 3 quarters and exploded for 67 points in the two middle periods to leave Alaska in the dust. The lead swelled to as much as 27 points by the third period as 3-point shooting was complemented nicely with strong attacks to the basket.
The Aces, on the other hand, struggled for rhythm on their offense and took tentative shots. Alaska tried to capitalize as their foes grew sloppy and relaxed in the fourth, inching to within 4 points with a second to go, but ran out of time.
“Good thing our lead was huge,” head coach Yeng Guiao said in Filipino. “We really did not finish this game well but it’s still a win and we can win a championship on Friday. That’s what’s important, we have a 3-0 lead.”
Quiñahan led Rain or Shine with 18 points – 13 coming in the second as his team began pulling away – on 4-of-5 makes from downtown, though he fouled out with still 4:27 remaining in the game. Jericho Cruz came through with 17 points on 6-of-11 field goals and 6 rebounds.
Pierre Henderson-Niles had 11 points with 13 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 blocks while Paul Lee added 10 markers and two triples.
Calvin Abueva likewise fouled out 9 seconds earlier than Quiñahan and finished with 20 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists.
Rob Dozier tallied 23 markers with 8 boards, 4 dimes, and 4 blocks while Chris Banchero added 15 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists. RJ Jazul chipped in 14 points in the loss.
The Painters are poised to be the latest cause of the Aces’ heartbreak, moving a win away from the 2016 PBA Commissioner’s Cup championship. Should they close it out, it will be Rain or Shine’s first title since the 2012 Governors’ Cup.
But if there is any team very familiar with the new reality of massive comebacks from a 0-3 deficit, it’s Alaska. The Aces, bridesmaid finishers of 3 of the previous 4 conference, are coming off a painful Philippine Cup loss where they fell victim to the San Miguel Beermen, which rallied to become the first team in league history to overcome such a deficit.
“We have one foot inside the door but it’s happened before so it can happen again,” Guiao warned, saying that mental focus will be the key to victory come Game 4 on Friday, 13.
“That’s going to be what’s in our minds. We don’t want to be in that position, where we will lose a 3-game lead. We’ll do everything we can to finish this on Friday.”
Rain or Shine (112): Quinahan 18, Cruz 17, Henderson-Niles 11, Lee 10, Norwood 9, Belga 8, Tiu 8, Ahanmisi 7, Almazan 7, Chan 6, Ibanes 6, Ponferada 5, Nimes 0.
Alaska (108): Dozier 23, Abueva 20, Banchero 15, Jazul 14, Baguio 9, Hontiveros 9, Thoss 7, Exciminiano 5, Baclao 4, Dela Rosa 2.
Quarter scores: 28-28, 62-47, 95-72, 112-108.
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