Ginebra comes up short anew as Rain or Shine advances
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – This loss will linger with fans of Barangay Ginebra San Miguel for a while.
Thanks to a steal and breakaway layup by Jeff Chan, the top-seeded Rain or Shine Elasto Painters will advance to the PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals after defeating Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, 92-91, on Saturday, March 28, at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Ginebra, who just a few weeks ago squandered a late eight-point lead against the same opponents, was up by nine in the fourth quarter of the game and 6 with a little above 4 minutes to go. The Gin Kings also turned the handle over 30 times, leading to 20 Rain or Shine points - but none more painful than the last two by Chan.
“We got lucky. It’s also a good time for Jeff to come up with probably one of his best games because Jeff was shooting really badly the past two games. We were just waiting for him to get his rhythm back,” Elasto Painters head coach Yeng Guiao said after the contest.
“They were number eight and we were number one but it didn’t feel like we had an advantage.”
Raymond Almazan scored 12 points in the fourth quarter and finished with 17 for the game in addition to five rebounds. His three-pointer with under three minutes left tied the game at 84.
“Raymond Almazan played like a veteran. He was at least 20 pounds lighter than his opponents, but he just kept fighting and that’s just a good sign. It’s a sign of maturity for Raymond.”
Rain or Shine import Wayne Chism finished with 17 points on 6-of-22 shooting, while Chan put up 17 markers of his own - 8 in the final frame.
Greg Slaughter put up 26 points and 16 rebounds in the loss. Japeth Aguilar also played well with 14 points including an emphatic alley-oop jam to end the third quarter.
Ginebra import Michael Dunigan finished with only 11 points and committed the crucial turnover that led to the Chan layup.
“I’m glad it’s over. Now we have to start preparations for the semifinals. Yun lang (That's it). I got a little frustrated no during the game because I thought it was badly officiated. Buti nakalusot kami (It's good we were able to sneak a win),” commented Guiao.
An 8-2 run by Rain or Shine tied the contest at 84-all. After a few exchange of scores by both clubs, a 3-ball by Chan put his club up 90-87 with 1:33 to go.
Mark Caguioa, who finished with 14 points, then hit a long two to trim the lead. After getting a stop, Ginebra turned to Slaughter, who hit his final basket of the evening to put his team up one.
Ginebra then managed a defensive stop as Almazan was stuffed at the rim. But on the next play with the shot clock winding down, Chan stole the ball from Dunigan and raced down the other side of the court for an easy layup.
With four seconds left, a play executed out of the time-out by the Gin Kings led to a shot attempt by Helterbrand that didn’t even hit the rim, sealing the loss and Ginebra’s elimination.
Rain or Shine now awaits the winner of the best-of-three series between Meralco and NLEX, which is currently led 1-0 by the former.
“We are not more talented than Meralco or NLEX. We’re just an experienced team. We’ve just been together for a longer time,” Guiao said.
Rain or Shine was out-rebounded 69-49 by their opponents and shot just 34% from the floor, including 29% from downtown. The Elasto Painters took advantage of fast break opportunities, scoring 20, and on second chance opportunities, converting 12 points.
Ginebra converted 42% of their shot attempts but went just 3-of-12 from downtown.
Rain or Shine (92) -- Chism 17, Chan 17, Almazan 17, Lee 9, Norwood 9, Uyloan 5, Arana 4, Quinahan 4, Cruz 4, Teng 2, Tiu 2, Belga 2, Teng 0.
Ginebra (91) -- Slaughter 26, Aguilar 14, Caguioa 14, Dunigan 11, Urbiztondo 7, Tenorio 7, Helterbrand 5, Yeo 4, Baracael 3, Ellis 0.
Quarters: 21-18; 44-42; 63-68; 92-91.