THE Grand Slam bid was slammed grandly.
Rain or Shine showed the killer’s instinct as it finished off San Miguel Beer, 124-99, in their PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinal series and foil the Beermen’s ambitious quest for a hat-trick of titles in the league.
The Elasto Painters took the Beermen’s best punches in the third quarter and hardly flinched as they cruised to the Game Four win to close out the best-of-five series, 3-1.
Paul Lee flaunted his vintage form while Pierre Henderson-Niles and Gabe Norwood also delivered in a balanced attack for the E-Painters, who impressively blew out a full-strength SMB side that fielded replacement import AZ Reid.
“I’m most proud of the resiliency of my players,” E-Painters coach Yeng Guiao said. “I didn’t have to motivate them any further. They were motivated on their own.”
Third time was indeed the charm for the E-Painters, who conquered the Beermen after getting tormented in their last two Final Four meetings.
The E-Painters are making their sixth finals appearance and are set to return to the Commissioner’s Cup title series where they try to get over the hump after falling short against Talk ‘N Text last time.
The fifth-seeded E-Painters, who became the lowest-seeded team to enter the finals since No. 6 San Mig Coffee in the 2014 Commissioner’s Cup, will face the winner of the Alaska-Meralco series that the Aces are leading, 2-1.
The E-Painters broke away from the Beermen in the second quarter, but saw the Philippine Cup champions try to make a comeback in the third canto where they came to within 11 points.
for But Jericho Cruz retaliated with back-to-back treys – half of his total output – that sparked a 15-4 run to finish the period as the E-Painters regained a 22-point cushion.
ROS never looked back as its lead ballooned to 26 points en route to putting up its highest output this season.
Lee, hampered by knee injuries since the start of the season, finished with 18 points, five assists, two boards, and two steals in 23 minutes off the bench, while Henderson-Niles added 15 points and 14 rebounds.
Reid registered 25 points, 17 boards, and five assists to lead the Beermen in a losing effort.
ROS 124 – Lee 18, Henderson-Niles 15, Norwood 15, Tiu 13, Cruz 12, Almazan 10, Ahanmisi 9, Quinahan 8, Chan 6, Ponferada 5, Belga 4, Ibanes 3, Nimes 2, Teng 2, Trollano 2
SMB 99 – Reid 25, Lassiter 20, Cabagnot 18, Fajardo 12, Espinas 6, Ross 6, Santos 6, David 5, De Ocampo 1, Arana 0, Heruela 0, Tubid 0
Quarterscores: 23-22, 61-42, 92-70, 124-99