BIG Beau Belga loomed large in overtime as Rain or Shine survived a fright from an import-less but resolute Alaska side, 123-121, to force a do-or-die Game Five in their PBA Governors Cup semifinal series at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The wide-bodied Belga had two big baskets in extra time to atone for the missteps of a Rain or Shine team that not only squandered a 19-point first-half lead but also failed to put Game Four away after Alaska import Henry Walker's ejection midway through the fourth quarter.
The 6-5 'Extra Rice' bruiser led Rain or Shine back from a 117-121 deficit with two big baskets off offensive rebounds, the last putting the Elasto Painters up at 123-121, with 11 seconds to go.
“We didn’t imagine it’s gonna be this difficult, but a win is a win,” said a relieved Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao after a thrilling match marked by wildly changing fortunes.
In between, Rain or Shine got a major break when Alaska guard JV Casio, scooting downcourt all by his lonesome after intercepting a pass by RoS import AZ Reid, slipped on a wet spot left by teammate Calvin Abueva and slid into the sidelines while going for a layup.
“We got a break of a lifetime with the slip by JV CAsio. And I guess, we have to win games in different ways. We tried hard and gave it everything we got,” Guiao said.
San Mig and Talk 'N Text will also play a Game Five on Friday in the other semifinal series.
But before Game Five, Alaska will have to wait for the PBA's decision on Walker, who was slapped with a flagrant foul penalty 2 and ejected from the game when he hit Rain or Shine's Paul Lee with an elbow to the back of the head with 6:24 left in regulation.
Commissioner Chito Salud will now decide if the act will merit a suspension.
Belga, who averaged just 5.3 points during the first three games of the series, finished with a career high-tying 21 points, while grabbing 10 rebounds, five on the offensive end.
“I felt the import deserved the ejection long ago. Dapat nung binangga niya si Beau nung Game Two, that also deserved an ejection because how can a 230-pound guy throw his whole weight on somebody and not get ejected?” Guiao said, in recalling the hard shove Walker gave to Belga in the second half of Game Two.
The fiery Rain or Shine mentor went as far as call Walker a “menace to the league” and a “big bully."
“I think he’s a menace to the league and he’s a big bully. He deserved what he got and I think he deserved it earlier,” said Guiao. “Now we focus on Game Five.”
Reid led the Elasto Painters with 32 points, 15 rebounds and five assists, while Lee added 21 points and four rebounds. Rookie Raymond Almazan added 14 and 11 boards.
Dondon Hontiveros and Cyrus Baguio each had 21 points while Calvin Abueva and Casio had 19 and 17 points, respectively.
Walker, who was summoned to appear before Salud on Friday at 3 p.m., had 16 points, four rebounds and three assists before his ejection.
Rain or Shine 123 - Reid 32, Belga 21, Lee 21, Almazan 14, Chan 11, Arana 8, Norwood 7, Ibanes 3, Cruz 2, Tiu 2, Rodriguez 2.
Alaska 121 - Hontiveros 21, Baguio 21, Abueva 19, Casio 17, Walker 16, Thoss 11, Jazul 6, Manuel 6, Espinas 4, Dela Cruz 0.
Quarterscores: 38-24, 60-59, 96-91, 115-115, 123-121