Rain or Shine hangs on late to tie semis series
MANILA, Philippines – In game one of their best-of-seven series with the Alaska Aces in the 2014-2015 PBA Philippine Cup semifinal round, the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters surrendered a 17-point lead and let the Aces take a 1-0 series advantage.
In game two on Friday, December 20, Rain or Shine established another huge edge, but this time made sure to hang on for the win, 102-95, at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Game three is on Monday, December 22.
"[It was a] team effort from both the players and coaches," Rain or Shine assistant coach Caloy Garcia said after the game.
"We just put a lot of effort from the beginning. I think that was the key in the game," said Garcia, who took control of head coaching duties after ROS head coach Yeng Guiao reached the MOA Arena late due to bad traffic.
Guiao made it at the half after being caught by the standstill of cars in C5, and decided to let Garcia, who had already coached the team to a huge halftime lead, take control the rest of the way.
In game one, the Elasto Painters went up by 17 in the first half before letting the Aces cut the deficit to three by halftime. In game two, they finished the second quarter with a 55-36 lead, and extended their edge to 20 shortly into the third period.
Jervy Cruz was a huge catalyst for his team in the first half, where he tallied 11 points and 7 rebounds. The former UAAP MVP finished with 19 points and 12 rebounds - 5 coming from the offensive end. 14 of Rain or Shine's 45 turnovers were offensive, leading to 10 second chance points.
Jonathan Uyloan, who started the game in place of Paul Lee, tied his career-high with 18 points, grabbed 4 boards, and dished out 3 assists. Gabe Norwood and Raymond Almazan put up 15 and 10 points, respectively.
A 3-pointer by Lee gave his team some breathing room midway through the fourth quarter as they extended their lead to nine, 93-84. The Aces quickly countered by going to Cyrus Baguio and Eric Menk, both of whom scored in successive possessions.
With the lead down to five and Calvin Abueva entering the game after a long rest on the bench, Uyloan called for an isolation play and hit a tough step-back jumper at the 2:10 mark.
After a few empty possessions from both teams, Baguio finally ended the dry-spell by hitting a 3-pointer with a little over a minute to go. Alaska converted a defensive stop after, but a missed long-range shot by Hontiveros put an end to their comeback.
Abueva finished with 12 points and 7 rebounds for the Aces but played just 20 minutes. Eric Menk put up 18 points and 9 rebounds while Vic Manuel recorded 17 and 9. Baguio scored 14 points.
After scoring in double-figures in game one, JVee Casio and Sonny Thoss were limited to 8 and 3 points, respectively.
Alaska's conference-high 25 turnovers yielded 17 ROS points. The Aces won the battle in the paint, 52-40.
Rain or Shine (102): Cruz 19, Uyloan 18, Norwood 15, Lee 13, Almazaan 10, Chan 7, Arana 7, Quinahan 6, Ibanes 5, Belga 2, Tang 0
Alaska (95): Menk 18, Manuel 17, Baguio 14, Abueva 12, Banchero 8, Casio 8, Hontiveros 7, Thoss 3, Exciminiano 3, Jazul 3, Dela Cruz 2, Eman 0, Dela Rosa 0
Here are more photos of the game taken by Nuki Sabio/PBA Images
Quarter Scoring: 19-16, 55-36, 83-74, 102-92
Rain or Shine vs Alaska PBA 2015 semifinals