MANILA, Philippines – This time, the Petron Blaze Boosters never ran out of fuel.
Petron finally arrested their 2-game slide to avoid getting buried in a 3-0 hole as they reminded the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters of what it’s like to lose again with a 106-73 Game 3 drubbing in the PLDT Home DSL Philippine Cup on Saturday, February 1 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“It really feels good to finally get our first win in this series,” said Petron head coach Gee Abanilla.
Petron came out running and gunning in Game 3 – evidently playing with a huge sense of urgency in their best-of-7 semifinal series – and zoomed to an early 13-2 start that caught Rain or Shine off guard.
The Painters seemed to gather their bearing somewhat shortly after and caught up on a Gabe Norwood trey in the middle of the of the first, 10-15. But after Raymond Almazan scored the Painters’ 12th point, they never scored again until nearly two minutes into the second thanks in large part to the Boosters impenetrable defense.
At which point Petron had already erected an imposing 30-12 lead, which later ballooned to 29 points, 55-26, on freebies from Arwind Santos at the 3:18 mark of the second.
Not only was their defense on point but Petron’s outside shooting was a force to be reckoned with. Their 55.6% first half total field goals, including 8 triples, was what allowed them to run away and never look back.
Unlike Game 2, when Petron build a huge lead only to squander it in the second half, Petron never lifted its feet off the gas pedal. They stymied every Rain or Shine rally, including a 12-0 blitz to start the third, by playing the passing lanes and staying composed mentally.
“Today I’m just happy that the guys responded and we knew what to do in this game all throughout. It’s tough, we really got mentally and physically prepared for this game,” Abanilla said.
Petron kept their cool better in this game in spite of the physicality and several calls not going their way. This was especially true for June Mar Fajardo who seemed to have a better understanding of the physicality in this game.
“June Mar understands that this is basketball. It’s just that we need to manage our emotions,” said of his ward who finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
Contrastingly, it was Rain or Shine’s turn to let emotions get the better of them.
Painters head coach Yeng Guiao, in particular, was ejected from the game at the 1:36 mark of the third after incurring his second technical foul of the game. He was seen giving Santos the finger as Santos made his way back up the court.
Abanilla said this win gives his team just enough confidence to try and even the series in Game 4.
“I think in Game 4 we’ll have more confidence.”
Petron 106: Santos 22, Cabagnot 15, Fajardo 14, Lassiter 13, Lutz 11, Kramer 8, Ross 8, Duncil 4, Tubid 3, Taha 3, Deuthcman 3, Hubalde 2, Lanete 0.
Rain or Shine 73: Belga 14, Quiñahan 10, Almazan 10, Araña 8, Norwood 8, Tiu 7, Tang 4, Ibañes 4, Lee 4, Rodriguez 2, Cruz 1, Chan 1, Nuyles 0, Teng 0.
Quarters: 30-12, 59-36, 77-62, 106-63.
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