B-Meg finally showed the resolve of a true champion as it turned back Rain or Shine, 85-80, to even the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals series at one win apiece on Wednesday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
After succumbing to the Painters’ highly physical play in Game One, the Llamados didn’t back down this time and were rewarded with their first win in four games against Rain or Shine in the season-ending conference.
“We needed to convince ourselves that we could beat them,” Llamados coach Tim Cone said.
James Yap provided the exclamation point for the Llamados, burying a tough turnaround fadeaway jumper that gave his squad a two-possession lead, 82-78, and took the fight out of the Painters.
“’Big Game’ James turned into ‘Big Shot’ James,” Cone said.
Yap, who finished with 24 points on 9-of-18 shooting, along with nine boards, also made good on his promise to adapt to the Painters’ playing style.
“And kagandahan sa Finals, may opportunity maka-adjust,” Yap said. “Naka-adapt kami sa banggaan. Finals na eh. Kung mahina loob mo, talo ka.”
B-Meg import Marqus Blakely, who finished second to Rain or Shine counterpart Jamelle Cornley in the Best Import race, bounced back from a poor, foul-plagued Game One showing with 26 points, 16 boards, and three blocks.
Cornley led the Painters with 18 points and 14 boards.
The Painters suffered a huge blow in the game after Paul Lee, who finished behind Ginebra’s Mark Caguioa in the Best Player of the Conference race, aggravated his left shoulder injury late in the game.
The rookie sensation ignited the Painters’ comeback from 11 points down late in the third. He helped the Painters tie the game at 74 by scoring on a layup and assisting on a Cornley stab with five minutes and 26 seconds remaining.
“I thought we did a good job on controlling the tempo,” Cone said. “We made our adjustments. And it’s time [for Rain or Shine] to make theirs.”
B-MEG 85 - Blakely 26, Yap 24, Simon 16, Barroca 8, De Ocampo 6, Villanueva 2, Pingris 2, Reavis 1, Urbiztondo 0
RAIN OR SHINE 80 - Cornley 18, Chan 12, Lee 11, Cruz 10, Norwood 9, Buenafe 7, Ibanes 7, Belga 4, Arana 2, Tang 0, Quinahan 0
Quarterscores: 21-26, 44-41, 65-60, 85-80