PBA: Can Petron solve Rain or Shine puzzle in Game 3 tonight?

Levi Verora
The Petron Blaze Boosters will fight for their competitive lives tonight after losing their first two assignments against the invincible-of-late Rain or Shine Elasto Painters.

OUT OF GAS. June Mar Fajardo of Petron Blaze goes up for a shot against Beau Belga of Rain or Shine in Game 2. Photo by Nuki Sabio/PBA Images

MANILA, Philippines – The Petron Blaze Boosters will fight for their competitive lives tonight after losing their first two assignments against the invincible-of-late Rain or Shine Elasto Painters. But can the Boosters prevent the E-Painters from burying them in an 0-3 hole? We will know the answer later today.

Rain or Shine Elasto Painters (2) vs Petron Blaze Boosters (0)

GAME 1: Rain or Shine 103, Petron 95

GAME 2: Rain or Shine 103, Petron 94

GAME 2 RECAP

What went right for Rain or Shine: Rookie Raymond Almazan played like a grizzled veteran ready for big games. In Game 2, the 3rd overall draft pick scored 15 points in 18 minutes on a perfect 6-of-6 from the field. Gabe Norwood dished out an all-around game with 11 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists, while Jeff Chan was on target from long range, hitting 5 triples.

What went wrong for Petron Blaze: The Boosters held a 16-point lead in the first half but it quickly vanished entering the halftime break. They managed to hold the lead until the final period, when a lethargic last quarter enabled Rain or Shine to claw back and steal the win.

What they should do to win:

Rain or Shine: June Mar Fajardo was frustrated by the E-Painters’ physicality, committing 6 turnovers and a costly technical foul in the fourth quarter. RoS’ frontline must keep showing that edge in experience over the second year man. Coach Yeng Guiao’s boys should continue their total-team effort. In game 2, 5 players finished in double-digits scoring to help them book a 2-0 series lead.

Petron Blaze: Coach Gee Abanilla’s wards were outscored 36-16 in the final period; the Boosters should close out strong and protect their lead. Reigning MVP Arwind Santos was visibly missing, scoring only 12 points. Petron were once again outran, finishing with just 12 fastbreak points so they must not engage to Rain or Shine’s style and make it their own ball game.

X-Factors:

Rain or Shine: Gabe Norwood

The Gilas Pilipinas stalwart showed his all-around brilliance with an 11-6-6 statline in Game 2; if he’s everywhere again tonight, he’ll make life difficult for the Boosters.

Petron Blaze: Alex Cabagnot

Petron’s court general dished out only a single assist on Wednesday, with Petron getting outnumbered in the assists category, 23-16. Cabagnot should distribute the ball better today and make Petron’s offense look like a well-oiled machine.

What this game means: In this conference, Petron is yet to win against Rain or Shine-the same team that ended their 7-game winning run in the eliminations. They must solve the puzzle tonight to avoid getting buried into an insurmountable 0-3 hole. That is if they can prevent the Painters from zooming to their 11th straight win. – Rappler.com