RAIN or Shine overcame Jayson Castro’s career performance with excellent team play and patient execution to whip Talk ‘N Text 116-108, tying their PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals at one win apiece on Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Paul Lee shook off an ankle injury to score 15 of his 20 points in the second half, working hand in hand with import unheralded Jireh Ibanes and Wayne Chism, who led the Elasto Painters with 30 points and 13 rebounds.
Ibanes, for his part, not only slowed down Castro in the second half but he also contributed 12 points on 6-of-8 shooting aside from a key rebound and steal in the endgame.
The in-form Castro finished with a career-high 44 points, but Ibanes’ constant hounding held the Talk 'N Text star to just 4-of-10 in the last half, enabling Rain or Shine to punch in the confidence-building win.
“We just tied the series, nothing’s happened yet. It’s just back to square one,” said coach Yeng Guiao after Rain or Shine ended an eight-game losing streak to Talk 'N Text that stretched back to last year's Commissioner's Cup.
“But I have to give credit to the guys, because they just fought back from an 18-point difference and we survived Jayson Castro’s incredible performance in the first half.”
Guiao readily acknowledged that the win is a huge boost to Rain or Shine’s confidence.
“It (win) gave us a lot of confidence because if we can survive a 27-point onslaught by Jayson in the first half and overcome an 18-point deficit, you know you can play with the best,” said the outspoken coach.
Rain or Shine’s solid bench scoring summarized the team’s remarkable second-half turnaround which enabled the Elasto Painters to overcome a 41-58 deficit posted by TnT in the second quarter.
The Elasto Painters’ bench outscored their Tropang Texters counterparts, 46-11.
Rain or Shine also fared better from the free-throw line in Game Two, going 17-of-20 compared to the team’s atrocious 15-of-31 performance in the series-opening match.
Jeff Chan came off the bench to score 17 points, shooting a perfect 3-of-3 from the three-point zone, while Gabe Norwood added 14.
Meantime, Johnson, who just the day before was slapped with a hefty P150,000 fine for his ‘unsportsmanlike’ bump on Guiao, finished with 20 points.