AZ Reid lived up to his billing on the day he was crowned best import, hitting one big shot after another down the stretch to lead Rain or Shine to an 89-87 overtime win over San Mig on Thursday night that evened the PBA Governors Cup Finals at 1-all.
Held to two points in the first half, the Rain or Shine import carried his team on his shoulders in a physical, grindout game that kept a huge crowd at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on the edge of their seats from the opening tip down to the overtime buzzer.
None of those shots were bigger than the cold-blooded, pull-up three-pointer he hit over Marc Pingris with 6.7 seconds left in overtime, 89-87, just one play after 'Big Game' James Yap appeared to have won the game for San Mig with a clutch jumper of his own.
The Mixers still had a chance to tie the score or win the game outright in the final play, but Mark Barroca’s desperation attempt in the dying seconds fell short, allowing the Elasto Painters to turn the season-ending championship series into a best-of-three affair.
“That’s the play,” Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao, referring to Reid’s three-point shot.
“But we were telling him to attack under seven seconds. That’s I think 6.5 seconds, but as I was saying, at least, if we missed a shot, we have a chance at the rebound."
Of Reid, who was awarded his second Best Import award in four seasons in the pre-game ceremony, Guiao said: "That’s why he’s the best import, because he wants the ball when it’s crunch time, and he will most likely deliver.”
San Mig appeared headed for a 2-0 lead as two-time league MVP Yap scored all seven of his team’s points in overtime, including a wide-open 20-foot jumper to give the Mixers an 87-86 with 13 seconds left in the extra session.
Guiao said his team could have won the game outright in regulation play if not for the four missed free throws combined by Paul Lee and Beau Belga during the final two minutes.
“But we just grind it out. We stayed there and stayed composed so I guess the real winner is the PBA public,” said Guiao. “The fans get a good series because every game is close.”
Reid finished the game with 29 points and 17 rebounds in another monster effort, while Jeff Chan and Lee added 14 and 12 points, respectively.
Yap led the Mixers with 22 points, while Pingris added 17 and 13 boards. Marqus Blakely had 14 points and 14 rebounds, but he was just 5-of-14 from the field.
Rain or Shine 89 - Reid 29, Chan 14, Lee 12, Norwood 10, Cruz 8, Teng 7, Belga 4, Arana 3, Almazan 2, Tiu 0, Ibanes 0, Rodriguez 0.
San Mig 87 - Yap 22, Pingris 17, Blakely 14, Simon 11, Mallari 7, Barroca 6, Sangalang 6, Melton 4, Maliksi 0, Devance 0, Reavis 0.
Quarterscores: 18-24, 37-37, 66-59, 80-80, 89-87