RAIN or Shine came out the more aggressive team as it routed San Mig Coffee, 98-72, in a Christmas Day massacre in the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals Tuesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Their defense clamping down on James Yap and their shooters clicking from the perimeter, the Elasto Painters took the fight out of the Mixers as early as the third period.
The outcome of the match already beyond doubt at the four-minute mark, Mixers coach Tim Cone already pulled starters Mark Barroca, Marc Pingris, and Yap out of the game as a sign of surrender.
Rain or Shine now leads the series, 2-1.
“Our main purpose coming into this game is to stay mentally and not get frustrated like what happened in the last game. So our game plan fell into place,” said Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao.
“We got our rebounds. And as long as we get the rebounds, we get into the open court. That’s where we are effective,” added Guiao, whose team managed to bounce back from an 82-106 Game Two beating.
Yap, who rained the Elasto Painters with seven three-pointers in Game Two on the way to 34 points, was held down to just one field goal in 30 minutes of play. He finished with just six points on a frigid 1-of-11 shooting as he struggled against Rain or Shine’s three designated defenders – Jireh Ibanes, Ryan Arana, and Ronnie Matias.
“The good thing about this (series) is we have more stoppers than they have scorers. We were able to rotate our stoppers with their scorers. We were able to run and able to pressure as well as sustain that pressure,” added Guiao.
Paul Lee, the reigning Rookie of the Year, scattered 15 points, while Jervy Cruz and Jeff Chan added 14 and 13, respectively.
Larry Rodriguez, a recipient of numerous passes underneath the basket, chipped in 12 points, six rebounds, and three blocks in another solid, off-the-bench role for Rain or Shine.
“I had no special words except that before the game, ang sabi ko lang sa kanila, let’s give ourselves a nice Christmas gift, and also play for our families, fans, and to all who believe in us,” Guiao added.
“It’s also a way to redeem ourselves from that embarrassing loss the last time. This is the best way to rebound after that lopsided loss.”
Peter June Simon was the only consistent gunner for the Mixers as he finished with 22 points on 9-of-14 shooting.
But overall, San Mig Coffee struggled mightily against Rain or Shine’s airtight defense. The boys of coach Tim Cone shot just 38 percent overall in the game (30-of-79).
Rain or Shine also held a 53-46 advantage in the rebounding department as “Extra Rice Inc.” big boys Beau Belga and JR Quinahan, along with Jervy Cruz used their heft to outmuscle San Mig Coffee’s taller frontline.
Rain or Shine (98) -- Lee 15, Cruz 14, Chan 13, Rodriguez 12, Tiu 11, Norwood 9, Arana 8, Belga 6, Ibanes 4, Matias 3, Quinahan 3.
San Mig Coffee (72) -- Simon 22, Barroca 11, Pingris 10, Devance 9, Yap 6, De Ocampo 6, Reavis 4, Gaco 2, Pacana 2, Ramos 0, Ponferada 0, Intal 0, Villanueva 0, Gonzales 0
Quarter scores: 18-17; 51-32; 74-56; 98-72.