DESPITE playing a horrible fourth quarter and overtime, Beau Belga felt Lady Luck was on Rain or Shine's side as it pulled off a 123-121 escape act on Thursday against Alaska in their PBA Governors’ Cup semifinal series to force a deciding Game Five on Saturday.
The Elasto Painters withstood a series of endgame rallies by the Aces, and much of that also had a lot to do with Belga’s hustle off the boards during the final minute of the extension period.
The burly Belga’s four-point cluster late in the game capped a 6-0 windup for Rain or Shine, while JV Casio’s two missed attempts in the dying seconds sealed the sudden death match this Saturday.
“Swerte in a way na para sa akin (yung panalo), kasi talo na kami eh,” said Belga, who finished the game with a career-high-tying 21 points on top of 10 rebounds.
Belga said the Elasto Painters managed to get an important, lucky break when Casio slipped by his lonesome as he was trying to go for an uncontested fastbreak layup with 33 seconds to go that could have given Alaska the lead in the final seconds of overtime.
The slip may have hurt the 5-foot-10 Alaska guard, who had to be treated momentarily with ice, before being reinserted into the game with 11 seconds left to play.
“All alone si JV. Nadulas nga. Swerte lang talaga kami today. We’ll take it (win),” said the “Extra Rice Inc” big man.
“Ito naman talaga gusto namin eh. We’ll take it. At may Game Five na inilaan sa amin, so siguro di na namin pakakawalan.”
The 27-year-old Belga said the near collapse in Game Four should serve as a lesson for Rain or Shine, especially in taking care of an early lead.
“Iyun naman ang sakit namin eh, pagka-lumalayo kami, nagkukumpiyansa, nagre-relax kami,” rued the former Philippine Christian University slotman, whose team led by as many as 19 points in the first half.
“Minsan yun nagiging cause ng pagkatalo namin, so sana maging lesson na sa amin yun,” he added.