Rain or Shine survives Castro’s career game, ties finals at 1-1
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – For a few minutes in the second quarter, it looked like Jayson Castro and the Talk ’N Text Tropang Texters had left the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters for the wolves.
But resilient as always, the Elasto Painters fought back, erasing a 17-point deficit and pulling out a tough 116-108 victory over the Tropang Texters to tie the Commissioner’s Cup Finals at 1-1 on Friday, April 17, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Castro finished with a career-high 44 points with 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and a PBA Finals record for a local with 9 three-pointers. Twenty-seven of his points came in the first half, mostly on a stretch where he knocked down 3 straight triples to help his team go up by 18.
Rain or Shine trimmed the deficit to 13 by the half, and used a 36-22 third quarter to regain momentum and enter the fourth period with an 85-84 lead.
“I have to give credit to the boys, to the guys, they just fought back from a 17-point difference. We survived Jayson Castro’s incredible performance in the first half,” Rain or Shine head coach Yeng Guiao said after the game.
“It was really the mental toughness of the guys that got us through this game, but we need a lot of it in the coming games.”
Game 3 is on Sunday, April 19, also at The Big Dome.
“We just tied the series. Nothing’s happened yet so [we're] just back to square one,” said Guiao.
Wayne Chism spearheaded Rain or Shine’s third quarter rally and finished with 30 points to go with 10 boards, 3 assists, and 3 steals.
Paul Lee shook off an ankle injury in the first half to put up 20 points and 4 dimes. The Best Player of the Conference candidate also nailed a three-ball late in the final quarter to put his team up by 10, essentially sealing the win, and outscored Castro 14-10 in the final 12 minutes.
“It’s a good sign for us,” said Guiao. “As I said the last game, we just needed an icebreaker and this is a really nice icebreaker for us.”
“We lost it. It doesn’t mean that when you’re up by so many points in the first half, generally you can duplicate that in the second half,” Talk ’N Text head coach Jong Uichico said in the post-game presser.
“We made shots but they made more shots. It means we didn’t defend the way we should.”
Rain or Shine shot 49% from the floor and 42% from downtown. They committed just 9 turnovers - eight less than their output in game one.
“We survived the storm, we made adjustments from our first game. We made less turnovers and we made more free throws today,” Guiao said.
Talk ’N Text shot 52% from the field and 45% from 3-point range, but threw away 16 turnovers that led to 19 Elasto Painters points. The Tropang Texters also gave up 15 offensive boards, with the one they gave up to Jireh Ibanes with under a minute to go halting any chance at a comeback.
“No one said this series is going to be easy,” Uichico said.
Rain or Shine started to pull away after free throws by Lee and a basket by Chism increased their lead to 107-100.
Talk ’N Text then called a time-out, but committed a costly 8-second backcourt violation after coming out of their huddle. 18 seconds later, Lee nailed a triple from the top of the key.
A 3-ball by Ranidel de Ocampo with 59 seconds left cut the deficit to 6, 114-108. Chism then missed a 3-ball, but Ibanes grabbed a crucial offensive rebound, leaving the Tropang Texters no choice but to foul Lee, who made both charities.
Ibanes scored 12 points and pulled down 5 rebounds in addition to play pressure defense on Castro in the final frame. Jeff Chan battled through his leg injury and was stellar with 17 points, while Gabe Norwood recorded 14 points.
Talk ’N Text import Ivan Johnson put up only 20 points but had 12 rebounds and 4 assists as well. De Ocampo recorded 15 points, while rookie Matt Ganuelas-Rosser scored 10 points.
Castro went on a personal 9-0 tear in the second quarter to extend Talk ’N Text’s lead to ten, 51-41. After which, Johnson and Larry Fonacier combined to score their team’s next seven points, building their biggest lead of the night.
“Jayson's almost unguardable. You just have to work hard against him and couple with a lot of prayers,” Guiao said.
RAIN OR SHINE (116): Chism 30, Lee 20, Chan 17, Norwood 14, Ibanes 12, Belga 8, Arana 7, Almazan 4, Teng 2, Quinahan 2, Cruz Jericho 0, Tang 0, Tiu 0, Cruz Jervy 0
TALK N' TEXT (108): Castro 44, Johnson 20, De Ocampo 15, Rosser 10, Fonacier 8, Alas 5, Williams 2, Seigle 2, Aban 2
Quarter Scoring: 27-26, 49-62, 85-84, 116-108