WAYNE Chism has the last laugh in his match-up with quick-fire Ginebra import Gabe Freeman as Rain or Shine pulled off a 105-101 victory in overtime to avoid a twice-to-win disadvantage in the PBA Commissioner's Cup playoffs.
Outshone by Freeman in the first half, the hulking Chism made his presence felt with two big baskets and one key block over Greg Slaughter when Rain or Shine pulled away in overtime.
Rain or Shine's defense was also a major factor as it held Freeman to six points in the final three quarters and overtime after the debuting Ginebra import exploded for 17 right in the first quarter and 23 by the half.
“We got the stops that we needed in the endgame,” said Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao. “Gabe Freeman was really a match-up problem as I expected, but as I expected also, we knew what Wayne can do especially on offense.”
By finishing the eliminations with a 5-4 (win-loss) record, the Elasto Painters moved up to the fourth seeding and avoided a quarterfinal match-up against twice-to-beat second seed San Miguel.
Instead, Guiao's boys will now meet Meralco in a best-of-three quarterfinal series.
On the other hand, Ginebra wasted a golden chance to climb as high as No. 6, slipping to the eighth and last seeding where a face-off against top seed Talk 'N Text awaits.
The rest of the Final Eight pairings will have No. 2 San Miguel enjoying twice-to-beat advantage against seventh seed Air21 and third seed Alaska taking on sixth seed San Mig.
Chism bounced back from a PBA career-low six-point performance on Monday by finishing with 30 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks, while Paul Lee added 25 points, four rebounds and six assists to help the Elasto Painters overhaul a 13-point first half deficit.
Slaughter came up big with 22 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks as he tried to carry the fight for the Gin Kings, but he missed two free throws late in regulation with the game tied at 94-all.
Freeman, a replacement for Josh Powell, also grabbed 17 rebounds for Ginebra. But he went 3-of-9 from the field after scoring 23 in the first half.
Veterans Mark Caguioa and Jayjay Helterbrand added 17 and 16, respectively, for the Gin Kings.
Rain or Shine 105 - Chism 30, Lee 25, Belga 10, Cruz 10, Arana 8, Norwood 7, Chan 6, Nuyles 3, Teng 3, Ibanes 3, Almazan 0, Tiu 0, Tang 0, Rodriuguez 0.
Ginebra 101 - Freeman 29, Slaughter 22, Caguioa 17, Helterbrand 16, Ababou 8, Tenorio 6, Mamaril 3, Baracael 0, ellis 0, Aguilar 0, Urbiztondo 0.
Quarterscores: 20-30; 42-50; 94-94; 105-101