RAIN or Shine came out with a solid offensive and defensive game to deal San Mig Coffee a 91-83 defeat on Wednesday night at the start of their PBA Philippine Cup semifinals series at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Jeff Chan finally came out of a three-game shooting slump as he led the underdogs Elasto Painters with 18 points, including three-of-five from downtown. Paul Lee added nine of his 15 points in the fourth period, banging in back-to-back three-point shots that gave Rain or Shine a 77-70 lead midway in the final period.
The Elasto Painters held on to the lead from there, relying on gang-rebounding and smooth execution of plays to jump the gun on the outhustled and outclassed Mixers in the best-of-seven series.
“Jeff finally got his range back. He’s a big help to us. Of course, our biggest concern coming into this game was rebounding but I think we’ve done well in that department. We just worked harder than they did so we equalized the boards,” said Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao.
Rain or Shine, which is coming off a morale-boosting 2-1 quarterfinals series win against Barangay Ginebra, managed to beat the much-bigger Mixers, 48-46 in the battle off both boards.
Jervy Cruz, who finished with seven points, was a tower of strength for the Elasto Painters as he grabbed 15 rebounds, seven offensive to typify their strong resolve not to get beaten off the boards.
“They (Mixers) were the best defensive team. But I also know we are the second best defensive team in terms of field goal percentage. You have two good defensive teams playing against each other so it’s just a matter of execution. I’m happy with the way we moved the ball,” added Guiao.
Guiao’s boys held a huge 15-6 edge on turnover points as the Mixers went through a series of errors going into the final three minutes of the match.
Two-time MVP James Yap had a quiet 11 points on a horrible 3-of-13 shooting, visibly bothered by the defense of Ryan Arana, Ronnie Matias and Jireh Ibanes, who managed to play nine minutes after coming off a hand injury.
Larry Rodriguez gave Rain or Shine a big lift as well after scoring 11 of his 15 points in the third period.
Rain or Shine 91 - Chan 18, Lee 15, Rodriguez 15, Belga 13, Cruz 7 Arana 7, Norwood 5, Quinahan 5, Matias 4, Tiu 2, Ibanes 0
San Mig Coffee 893 – De Ocampo 17, Pingris 14, Simon 13, Barroca 12, Devance 12, Yap 11, Intal 2, Reavis 2, Ramos 0, Gonzales 0
Quarterscores: 24-23, 41-38, 65-57, 91-83