Chan hits game-winner as Rain or Shine completes comeback
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Nearly the entire script went the San Miguel Beermen’s way. Marcio Lassiter was having the game of his life. Arizona Reid was his dominant self. The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters could not get scoring from their locals as import Wendell McKines had to put points on the scoreboard over and over again.
Almost everything went right - except for the final score.
When the final buzzer echoed around the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Saturday night, July 4, the final tally read a 113-110 victory for Rain or Shine, who tied their semifinal series with San Miguel at 1-1 thanks to the stellar play of their import, a superb comeback in the fourth period, and a clutch game-winner from Jeff Chan.
“I’ve been coaching a long time in this league and this is probably one of the most amazing comebacks, amazing games I’ve ever coached,” Rain or Shine head coach Yeng Guiao said after the contest.
“We survived the incredible 3-point shooting of… not only of [Marcio] Lassiter but of the whole San Miguel team. We just weathered the storm, we just composed ourselves, and we just fought back. This is a God-given game. Only God can script a game like this.”
McKines was superb, finishing with a career-high and PBA season-high 53 points to go with 17 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 blocks, and 2 steals.
Lassiter drilled 10 3-pointers - tying Kenneth Duremdes’ record for most made in a playoff game set 12 years go. He also put up a career-high 31 points, while Reid had a near triple-double of 33 points, 11 rebounds, and 8 assists. As a team, the Beermen nailed a season-high 21 3-balls.
“A team made of lesser stuff would have been broken down with torrid shooting that San Miguel showed. But I’m proud of how the guys stood up to that torrid shooting by San Miguel,” said Guiao.
“I have to pay tribute to Wednell McKines,” he also said. “His big heart. To the players who hung on - they played with a lot of character.”
That character was on display after Lassiter hit 3 consecutive triples early in the fourth quarter to help San Miguel establish a 98-84 lead. Both teams then went back-and-forth in scoring over the next few minutes, but with 6:09 left in the game, a jumper by Reid had his club on top 103-89.
“We thought it was a lost game, but we just hung in there. We just hung in there,” said Guiao.
Over the next two minutes, Rain or Shine went on a 12-2 run that was started by an Ibanes 3-pointer. During the rally, Paul Lee - who finished with 8 points and 6 assists - also hit a 3-pointer while McKines provided the rest of the scoring.
San Miguel looked to have a comfortable lead after Lassiter’s 10th triple of the game made the count 110-104 with 3:13 remaining. But over the next few possessions, a slam dunk and basket by McKines, followed by a clutch mid-range jumper from Gabe Norwood, tied the game with 25 seconds left.
With a chance to win the contest, San Miguel committed a turnover as Lassiter’s pass to Reid in the post was intercepted by McKines. On the break, Jeff Chan was left open and hit his second 3-pointer of the night, giving Rain or Shine their first taste of the lead in the second half.
Off a time-out, Alex Cabagnot missed a contested 3-ball from the corner, which sealed the loss.
“We put our hearts into it. The players worked hard, but it’s only God that can write the story this way,” said Guiao, who admitted to telling his team in the fourth quarter to just play hard on defense in preparation for Game 3 that will be played on Monday, July 6.
“The first game, our 3-point shooting left us when they zoned us. We actually prepared for a zone in this game. But 90% of the game they played us matchup, man-to-man,” the head coach said.
“They played us zone in the last 3 or 4 minutes and we were ready to handle the zone, but a g”ame like this is really won by character.”
June Mar Fajardo had 15 points while Arwind Santos put up 11 for San Miguel, who shot 49% from the field and 58% from downtown but was outscored in the paint, 48-26.
The Elasto Painters also won the rebounding battle, 45-37, and had more points off the bench, 28-16.
RAIN OR SHINE 113 - McKines 53, Quinahan 11, Ibanes 10, Norwood 9, Lee 8, Chan 6, Arana 6, Tiu 5, Uyloan 3, Almazan 2, Cruz Jericho 0.
SAN MIGUEL 110 - Reid 33, Lassiter 31, Fajardo 15, Santos 11, Ross 7, Tubid 5, Cabagnot 4, Lutz 2, De Ocampo 2, Espinas 0.
Quarter Scoring: 26-26, 48-53, 77-89, 113-110