PBA Philippine Cup

Rain or Shine makes Guiao proud as only independent team to reach semis

Delfin Dioquino

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Rain or Shine makes Guiao proud as only independent team to reach semis

STEP UP. Gian Mamuyac in action for the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in the 2024 PBA Philippine Cup.

PBA Images

Rain or Shine survives TNT in their best-of-three quarterfinals that goes the distance as it completes the PBA semifinal cast that includes perennial contenders San Miguel, Ginebra, and Meralco

MANILA, Philippines – Whether or not Rain or Shine goes further in the PBA Philippine Cup, a semifinal stint is already a “source of pride” for the only independent team remaining in the title race.

Beating the odds after a shaky start, the Elasto Painters reached the final four for the first time in five years after hacking out a 110-109 win over TNT in their sudden death at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium on Wednesday May 15.

Gian Mamuyac fired a conference-high 25 points as Rain or Shine completed the semifinal cast that includes perennial contenders San Miguel, Barangay Ginebra, and Meralco.

“When you’re in the top four and you’re an independent team, that means you bumped off an elite team,” said Elasto Painters head coach Yeng Guiao. “That in itself is a source of pride, source of achievement.”

Rain or Shine overcame all of the challenges thrown its way.

After losing their first four games of the tournament, the Elasto Painters won six of their last seven in the elimination round to finish as the No. 5 seed, arranging a best-of-three quarterfinals with No. 4 seed Tropang Giga.

Blown out in the series opener, Rain or Shine kept its composure and clinched the next two games to advance to the semifinals for the first time since Guiao returned to the team in 2022.

“We’re playing the long game. This is the long game for us,” said Guiao. “We have to develop talent and this is the way to develop talent, by getting them deep into the playoffs and making them experience the playoffs.”

“The grind, the adjustments, the game planning, the emotional toll – I want the players to experience all of those because that is the only way they’re going to get better.”

Standing in the way of the Elasto Painters is their biggest test to date as they face defending champion Beermen in a best-of-seven affair.

Boasting of a stacked lineup that includes bench players who are capable of being starters in other teams, San Miguel enters the semifinals as a heavy favorite even after it got tested by Terrafirma in the quarterfinals.

Guiao, however, believes being in the final four alone is a major win for Rain or Shine as his young players are bound to pick up valuable lessons that will benefit their careers in the years to come.

“We’re playing as underdogs, we know that. We’re going up against San Miguel, the best team in the conference. I do not think there is any pressure on us. We’ll just play as hard as we can,” said Guiao.

“We want San Miguel to feel all the pressure. We’re already champions in our mind.”

Making the semifinals, though, did not come without a scare as the Elasto Painters squandered a 20-point lead when TNT got within 100-101 with two minutes remaining behind Calvin Oftana.

Fortunately, Rain or Shine answered every Kelly Williams clutch shot, with rookie big man Keith Datu draining a pair of crucial free throws and Mamuyac sinking a gutsy three-pointer and foul shot in back-to-back possessions that pushed its lead to 107-100.

Williams drilled in three consecutive triples inside the final 30 seconds, including the inconsequential final triple that made the final score a one-point gap.

Jhonard Clarito chimed in 17 points and 9 rebounds in the win, Santi Santillan added 15 points, Datu and Adrian Nocum contributed 11 points and 6 rebounds apiece, while Shaun Ildefonso delivered 10 points.

Williams, 42, played his best game in recent years with 32 points and 14 rebounds, but his outing went down the drain as TNT missed the semifinals for the second straight conference since ruling the 2023 Governors’ Cup.

Oftana had 27 points and 9 rebounds in the loss.

The Scores

Rain or Shine 110 – Mamuyac 25, Clarito 17, Santillan 15, Datu 11, Nocum 11, Ildefonso 10, Norwood 6, Caracut 5, Asistio 5, Belga 5, Demusis 0.

TNT 109 – K. Williams 32, Oftana 27, Pogoy 22, Khobuntin 10, Montalbo 4, Castro 4, Aurin 4, Galinato 2, Heruela 2, M.Ganuelas-Rosser 2, Reyes 0, Ponferada 0.

Quarters: 39-22, 59-45, 89-72, 110-109.

– Rappler.com

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.