RAIN or Shine’s airtight defense sucked the life out of a disoriented Barangay Ginebra five as the Elasto Painters drew first blood in their PBA Philippine Cup best-of-three quarterfinal series with an 82-65 win on Friday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Elasto Painters uncorked a murderous 18-0 run in the third period behind Paul Lee, Beau Belga, Larry Rodrguez, and Chris Tiu to turn what was earlier a close game into a rout, 59-31 bubble.
The boys of coach Yeng Guiao simply coasted from there as the Gin Kings’ simply couldn’t get their act together against a mean Rain or Shine defense that afforded them rare good looks at the goal.
“We played defense tonight the way we planned to play defense. We didn’t expect this to be easy. But everyone was active,” said Guiao after the game.
“Defensively, everybody did their job. Rebounding-wise, we took care of business in terms of sharing the boards. It’s also good we were able to take LA (Tenorio) and Mark (Caguioa) out of their rhythm. But again, I’m sure they’ll be back in the second game,” he added.
Rain or Shine’ swarming defense was evident as Barangay Ginebra ended the game with a measly 30.6 percent shooting (22-of-72) from the field.
The Gin Kings also failed to take good care of the ball with 17 turnovers, allowing the Elasto Painters 18 fastbreak points.
Caguioa, who threw his goggles in frustration in the final period, led the Gin Kings with 16 points, but he only shot 4-of-13 overall to go with three turnovers.
On the other hand, the 5’8” Tenorio was held to just six points and two assists as rookie Chris Tiu did a fine defensive job on the veteran Ginebra floor leader.
Rain or Shine drew 14 points and eight boards from Jervy Cruz, while sophomore guard Paul Lee and Beau Belga added 11 points apiece in a balanced scoring attack.
Jeff Chan, the team’s top gunner, struggled on a bad shooting night, finishing just one point as he went 0-of-8 from the field.
The Elasto Painters will look to finish off the Gin Kings on Friday when they face off for Game Two at 7:30 p.m.
Rain or Shine 82 - Cruz 14, Lee 11, Belga 11, Matias 9, Norwood 8, Rodriguez 8, Quinahan 8, Tiu 6, Tang 6, Chan 1, Uyloan 0, Jaime 0, Arana 0
Barangay Ginebra 65 - Caguioa 16, Jensen 13, Ellis 7, Tenorio 6, Hatfield 6, Maliksi 5, Espiritu 5, Helterbrand 3, Taha 2, Maierhofer 2, Wilson 0, Mamaril 0, Raymundo 9
Quarterscores: 18-15, 39-29, 61-40, 82-65