PETRON Blaze stepped on the gas in a critical third-quarter tear to put an end to Rain or Shine’s reign as PBA Governors Cup champion Monday night following a convincing 110-89 win for a berth in the Finals of the season-ending conference.
The Boosters wrapped up the best-of-five semis series, 3-1, to arrange a title showdown against sister team and early finalist San Mig Coffee Mixers.
Game 1 of the best-of-seven Finals is set on Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Boosters opened the second half with a huge 19-2 bomb behind the aggressive attack of import Elijah Millsap and the outside sniping of Marcio Lassiter and Alex Cabagnot to tear the game apart, 65-42.
The Elasto Painters summoned one last fight and trimmed the deficit to 79-89 on a three-pointer by Gabe Norwood, before Lassiter and Cabagnot took the fight out of the Painters by nailing timely three-point baskets to seal the win and the franchise's 27th Finals appearance.
“I want to credit the Rain or Shine organization. They pushed us to the limit. Though they got injured guys and were beaten up, they fought hard,” said a beaming Gee Abanilla, who managed to reach the Finals right in his first conference as head coach of the Boosters.
Lassiter and Cabagnot accounted for 11 of Petron’s series-high 14 three-pointers as the deadly duo proved to be the thorn on Rain or Shine’s side on this night.
The hot-shooting Lassiter, a one-time Smart-Gilas stalwart, finished with a season-high 27 points behind a career-high seven triples, while Cabagnot added 24 spiked by four three-pointers.
Import Elijah Millsap bounced back from an anemic 17-point production in the Boosters’ Game Three loss as he fired 34 points, eight rebounds, and three assists, before letting Lassiter and Cabagnot take over in the final period when he got into foul trouble.
Arizona Reid tried to carry the fight for Rain or Shine, which missed the services of gunner Jeff Chan for the duration of the game after spraining his left ankle early in the first half.
Reid led the Elasto Painters with 41 points, 16 rebounds, and six assists, while Beau Belga was the only other player to score in double figures with 10 points.
Petron (110) -- Millsap 34, Lassiter 27, Cabagnot 23, Fajardo 9, Santos 8, Lutz 2, Kramer 2, Miranda 2, Tubid 2, Lanete 1, Isip 0.
Rain or Shine (89) -- Reid 41, Belga 10, Arana 9, Quinahan 7, Norwood 6, Tang 5, Ibanes 5, Tiu 3, Matias 3, Uyloan 0, Cruz 0, Chan 0.
Quarterscores: 24-25; 46-40; 80-65; 110-89.