Rain or Shine forces do-or-die game 7 vs Talk 'N Text
MANILA, Philippines - There will be a game seven.
Resolute and inspired, the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters were not in the mood to suffer another bridesmaid finish as they defeated the Talk ’N Text Tropang Texters, 101-93, in game six of the Commissioner’s Cup Finals on Sunday, April 26, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Second-year big man Raymond Almazan, as he’s been all series, was great on Sunday by finishing with 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting to go with 10 rebounds while also doing a good job on defense by limiting Talk ’N Text import Ivan Johnson to just 6 points on 2-of-9 shooting.
Paul Lee was also great with 16 points and 5 assists despite getting hit in different areas of his body throughout the game, most notably his face in the final period. Best Import awardee Wayne Chism played a complementary scoring role to his local teammates, providing only 18 points, but grabbed 24 rebounds.
“It’s a nice win for us. We played a lot better defense today than the last time,” said Rain or Shine head coach Yeng Guiao.
“Raymond Almazan played another excellent game,” Guiao said. “Not only on offense, but he was also there for defense, challenging shots by Ranidel and Jayson.”
Ranidel De Ocampo and Jayson Castro registered 21 and 17 points, respectively, but shot just a combined 11-of-29 and was silent in the fourth period, where the Elasto Painters sealed the victory.
Rain or Shine’s game-sealing run started with a Chris Tiu jumper that put his team up 87-79 as 5:57 remained in the game. After few empty possessions from both sides, Chism grabbed a Lee miss and threw down a dunk to extend the Elasto Painters’ lead to 10 with 4:46 left.
Johnson’s last point of the game - a free throw - was followed by Jay Washington’s final basket with a second under four minutes to go. Lee was then fouled and split his charities, but after De Ocampo missed a 3-pointer, Talk ’N Text left Almazan open on the break for a slam, 92-82.
Castro hit a 3-ball to keep his team in the hunt for a comeback, and later converted another basket after Chism hit two charities. Both teams then went scoreless for a few minutes until Norwood converted a pull-up midrange jumper with 46 remaining to put his team ahead nine, 96-87.
Larry Fonacier made a few 3-balls for a puncher’s chance at a Talk ’N Text comeback, but the Elasto Painters were able to hold off the Tropang Texters at the foul line.
“The only way to beat Talk ’N Text is to be prepared to make the stops. We were able to challenge a lot of their not shots not like the last time we played them," said Guiao. "It’s also the effort that we put in. The guys wanted to win this and extend it to a game seven.”
Rain or Shine players said that they were inspired by the performance of Jeff Chan, who scored 11 points in 11 and a half minutes. An MRI revealed on Saturday, April 25, that Chan tore his plantar fasciitis, but the Elasto Painter forward called his head coach and said he wanted to play in game six anyway.
“Jeff Chan was in pain but he called me up last night and asked to make a contribution… He just tried to show the rest of the team that he really wanted to make a contribution, even in pain. He wanted to help the team. He was a big boost,” said Guiao, who was once again unhappy with the physicality of Johnson.
As what’s become normal in the finals, Johnson was responsible for hard fouls and confrontations in game six. Late in the fourth period, Johnson bit on a pump fake by Lee and hit the Rain or Shine guard on the face as he tried to defend the shot after landing.
“What do you need to do to get a flagrant?” Guiao asked about Johnson’s rough and tough approach.
“He wasn’t after the ball… he was two arms length away from the ball,” he said about the play where Lee was hit. “He knew he would get Paul’s face. I don’t understand; what do you need to do to get a flagrant call? I’m just surprised.”
“I think he’s mentally unstable, but that should help us,” the coach later said.
Washington and Harvey Carey stepped up for the Tropang Texters with a combined 27 points and 14 rebounds. Fonacier put up 11 points and three 3-pointers.
Game seven is on Wednesday, April 29.
“It just boils down to one game,” said Talk ’N Text head coach Jong Uichico, who is 1-2 in his PBA career when it comes to game sevens. Guiao, on the other hand, is 2-0.
Carey hit a jumper to tie the game at 36 with a little over six minutes to go in the first half, but the rest of the second period went all Rain or Shine from there.
Lee, who registered 11 points in the first 24 minutes, hit a triple to spearhead his team’s rally that also included baskets by Quinahan and Chism.
The Elasto Painters tasted a double-digit lead at the 1:30 mark thanks to free throws by Lee, 49-38, and that lead extended up to 16 following another jumper by their star point guard a 3-pointer by the rookie Jericho Cruz.
Talk ’N Text ended the second quarter by scoring four quick points - free throws by De Ocampo, followed by a steal and basket by Washington - to pull within 12, 54-42, heading into the half.
RAIN OR SHINE (101): Almazan 18, Chism 18, Lee 16, Chan 11, Cruz Jericho 10, Quinahan 9, Tiu 7, Norwood 6, Ibanes 3, Arana 3, Uyloan 0, Belga 0.
TALK N' TEXT (93): De Ocampo 21 Castro 17, Washington 14, Carey 13, Fonacier 11, Johnson 6, Alas 4, Williams 4, Rosser 3, Aban 0.
Quarter Scoring: 23-18, 54-42, 76-71, 101-93