PBA: Rain or Shine survives Air21 despite Chism's bad night
MANILA, Philippines – Despite a generally bad game for import Wayne Chism, the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters managed to hang on and survive a late game barrage by the Air21 Express, 87-82, on Monday, April 14 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in the 2014 PLDT Home TVolution PBA Commissioner's Cup.
Chism, 26, figured in only 6 points on a bad offensive night. His field goal shooting was a horrible two-of-11 (18.2%) as he grabbed 9 boards to go with two steals and two blocks.
Despite his offensive shortcomings, Chism redeemed himself with his defensive efforts, particularly down the stretch when he made a crucial defensive stop that left Air21 with a 3-5 record in the standings.
"Our import really struggled offensively but his defensive presence was enough to lift us to winning this game," remarked Rain or Shine head coach Yeng Guiao. "The locals also kept us in the game at least offensively for the most part. When our import was not making his shots, the locals provided the offense."
It was another balanced offensive night for Guiao's wards with guys like Jervy Cruz, Paul Lee and Alex Nuyles providing some spark off the bench for the now 4-4 Painters.
Cruz dropped 9 of his 13 points in the second canto to keep Air21 at bay by halftime, 43-33. The former UST Growling Tiger went 6-of-6 from the field and grabbed 3 boards.
Lee, on the other hand, added 12 points as he bested rookie Eliud Poligrates, who hounded him in the fourth.
Air21's Poligrates, for his part, outplayed Lee at several points down the stretch, even scoring 6 points in the final 4 minutes to keep the Express in the game.
Two of those 6 points were from a highlight reel-worthy play with 3:02 left where he shot a basket on the break against Lee's solo coverage. Another two of those last 6 points came with 24.9 seconds left as the former Southwestern University cager intercepted a pass from Chism to Gabe Norwood for the lay-up, which made it only an 82-80 ballgame in favor of the Painters.
But Lee calmly sank his freebies in the ensuing play for an 84-80 spread in the waning seconds before Chism made up for his previous turnover with a defensive stop, punctuating his frustrating offensive night with a jam to ink the final tally.
"It's (Chism's performance) enough to get us where we are. In practice he's not this way. He's a lot better in practice that's why that gives us enough hope that he will can still win enough games for us," Guiao explained when pressed for his thoughts about his misfiring import.
Against Talk 'N Text, Chism blew Rain or Shine's chances of winning with two crucial rebounding mishaps that allowed the Texters to escape with the victory.
"I don't think that's the way he plays. This is a bad night for him definitely," Guiao said.
He added: "This is a big win for us. We're trying to get ourselves out of 7th and 8th place."
Meanwhile, Rain or Shine rookie Nuyles chipped in 8 markers - 4 of which he made early in the fourth. Those back to back baskets, one of which he made on a breakaway jam, gave Rain or Shine their biggest lead of the game at 73-60.
The Express were monsters on the break, zooming past Rain or Shine, 21-12. They even beat the Painters in turnover points, 19-15.
However, it was also an ice cold three-point shooting night for both teams. Rain or Shine, who is now tied with Meralco at 5th place, uncharacteristically made only 3 of their 14 attempts from downtown while Air21 went an even worse two-of-25.
Both teams each have one more game remaining with Air21 going up against the San Miguel Beermen and Rain or Shine capping the eliminations off against a reeling Barangay Ginebra San Miguel.
Rain or Shine (87) - Cruz 13, Lee 12, Nuyles 8, Rodriguez 8, Arana 7, Almazan 7, Tiu 7, Norwood 7, Chism 6, Chan 6, Belga 4, Tang 2, Teng 0.
Air21 (82) - Witherspoon 23, Taulava 15, Poligrates 13, Anthony 9, Villanueva 9, Yeo 8, Cardona 4, Borboran 1, Ramos 0, Burtscher 0.
Quarterscores: 18-13, 43-33, 62-55, 87-82.