RAIN or Shine relied on its red-hot shooting to roll past Air21, 111-90, on Wednesday night and barge into the PBA Governors Cup semifinals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Elasto Painters shot 55.7 percent from the field and made 14 three-pointers while giving Express' big men little room to operate inside to win their sixth successive game from the eliminations.
“We were carried by our winning momentum, I guess, because the first time we played Air21, we lost to them,” coach Yeng Guiao said after steering Rain or Shine to a fourth straight semifinal appearance.
Guiao said he was surprised by the seeming ease of the win against Air21, considering the Express have shown huge improvement since the Commissioner’s Cup.
“Since then, they’ve been playing really well, we were ready to play all the way through for a hard game. But surprisingly, we were able to break away,” he added.
Import Arizona Reid, Paul Lee and Ryan Arana knocked down three or more shots from beyond the three-point arc for Rain or Shine, which also had 26 assists in the game.
“Our defense has been consistent, that’s what’s been carrying us through the last half of this conference, while we’re getting opportunities on turnovers and transition plays, which helps us and gets us to our rhythm,” said Guiao.
The Elasto Painters will be meeting the winner of the Alaska Aces-Barangay Ginebra Kings quarterfinal pairing.
Reid led the Elasto Painters with 30 points. He scored 12 of the team’s first 30 points as Rain or Shine opened an early 21-6 lead that set the tone for the romp.
Lee added 14, Larry Rodriguez had 12 while Arana chipped in 11.
Air21, which entered the playoffs as the seventh seed, failed to pull off another quarterfinal surprise reminiscent of its win over twice-to-beat San Miguel Beer in the Commissioner's Cup.
Air21, which is reportedly being bought by incoming expansion team NLEX, was led by import Dominique Sutton with 35 points and 18 rebounds.
Rookie Eliud Poligrates added 18 points, while Aldrech Ramos chipped in 16.