PBA: Rain or Shine’s confidence carries them past Petron

Jane Bracher
Rain or Shine extends its winning streak to 9 games after conquering Petron in game 1 of their best-of-7 PBA PH Cup semifinals series

CONFIDENCE. Painters head coach Yeng Guiao says "effort and desire" key to Rain or Shine's 9-game win streak. Photo by Nuki Sabio/PBA Images

MANILA, Philippines – Their demeanor spoke for itself–the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters simply had the air of confidence that was apparent in every shot attempt, every pass, and in how they ran their plays and defended the hoop.

Because of that, Rain or Shine dominated the Petron Blaze Boosters to take care of the first game in their best-of-7 semis affair, 103-95, in the PLDT Home DSL Philippine Cup on Monday, January 27 at the Mall of Asia Arena.

“We did a good job defensively,” said Rain or Shine head coach Yeng Guiao. “This is a powerhouse team. It’s just really the effort and the desire of the boys to win this game that got us through the first game.”

Rain or Shine’s defense was on point from the very beginning, causing the quick deflation on the part of Petron and at the same time gradually increasing the momentum of the Painters.

Petron was the complete opposite of their semifinal nemesis as they succumbed to Rain or Shine’s airtight defense and committed 15 turnovers in the first half alone. That number later escalated to 25 as Rain or Shine took full advantage with 24 points off those miscues.

Reigning MVP Arwind Santos, who finished with 20 points and 17 rebounds, tried to revive his sagging team with a two-handed jam over all of Rain or Shine’s defenders at the start of the fourth to cut the lead to 11, 76-65.

But the Painters, who led by as much as 17 points, 65-48, at the 6:39 mark of the third on a split from the line by Ryan Araña, displayed splendid team effort once again and never allowed Petron to spark any type of rally.

What’s more, Petron allowed Rain or Shine a couple of and-one plays in the fourth, giving them more trouble heading down the stretch.

The Boosters tried hard to snatch the game away with under two minutes in the game and came as close as 98-92 on a pair of free throws by Chris Lutz with under a minute left.

But Rain or Shine made 8 of their 10 free throws in the last two minutes to crush Petron’s hopes.

As usual, Guiao had the luxury of a deep lineup and got distributed offense from different guys. Paul Lee was the leader of that offensive punch with 18 points. He did not catch fire from rainbow country but he attacked Petron’s defense enough to score on a perfect 10-of-10 from the free throw line to add to his 4-of-9 field goals.

“This is the way we want it played,” said a satisfied Guiao. “We want it fast, we want it open court. Petron also wants the open court but perhaps our rotation can sustain it more even in 7 games.”

He added, “We’re ready to play a long series and we’re ready to play a fast, furious pace.”

In the meantime, JR Quiñahan missed the series opener due to ‘swelling on his knee.’ Guiao assured he will be back for Game 2.

The win marks Rain or Shine’s 9th straight victory dating back to the eliminations.

The scores:

Rain or Shine (103): Lee 18, Cruz 15, Belga 11, Arana 10, Nuyles 9, Almazan 7, Rodriguez 7, Norwood 7, Chan 6, Teng 6, Ibanes 5, Tiu 2, Tang 0.

Petron (95): Fajardo 23, Lassiter 20, Santos 20, Ross 8, Hubalde 6, Cabagnot 4, Lutz 4, Duncil 2, Tubid 3, Lanete 2, Kramer 2.

Quarters: 28-20, 49-40, 76-63, 103-95

 – Rappler.com