RAIN or Shine went on a 10-0 finishing kick to avert another collapse against San Miguel, 112-104, on Wednesday night and stay alive in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Sophomore Rey Nambatac scored 22 points while Beau Belga and Gabe Norwood hit huge three-point baskets in the endgame for the Elasto Painters, who endured another SMB comeback as well as Chris McCullough's 51 points.
Coming off a Game Two loss where they wasted a 29-point lead, Rain or Shine looked headed to another meltdown when it lost a 17-point first-half lead and trailed, 104-102, with only 1:35 left in the game.
Norwood buried the go-ahead three-pointer from the deep left corner to give Rain or Shine a one-point lead with 1:11 left before Nambatac hit two free throws for a 107-104 lead.
After a big defensive stop that saw Norwood block a McCullough shot then force the SMB import to a travelling violation, the Elasto Painters sealed the win on Belga's clutch three-pointer with only 11.2 seconds left to play.
“We almost had another meltdown,” said Rain or Shine coach Caloy Garcia. “Like I said, it’s hard to play against San Miguel. I’m just proud na hindi kami na-sweep ng powerhouse team.”
Rain or Shine still trails, 1-2, in the best-of-five semifinal series but will have a lot of confidence and momentum heading to Game Four on Saturday.
Carl Montgomery led Rain or Shine with 25 points and 15 rebounds. Rookie Javee Mocon and Belga had 16 points each, with the latter accounting for three of the Elasto Painters' four three-pointers.
Norwood had 11 points and hit his lone three of the game in the clutch.
San Miguel came charging back from 18-points down and led, 96-91, thanks to McCullough, who highlighted that run by scoring on a lay-up off a no-look pass from Christian Standhardinger.
Alex Cabagnot scored 16 points while added Standhardinger had 14 points and 11 for the Beermen.
Chris Ross, who scored career-high 34 points in Game Two, didn't score until he hit two fourth-quarter three-pointers for the Beermen.
Rain or Shine 112 – Montgomery 25, Nambatac 22, Mocon 16, Belga 16, Norwood 11, Ponferada 7, Yap 6, Rosales 5, Daquioag 2, Torres 2, Borboran 0.
San Miguel 104 – McCullough 51, Cabagnot 16, Standhardinger 14, Romeo 9, Fajardo 8, Ross 6,Pessumal 0, Santos 0.
Quarters: 30-16; 54-54; 86-80; 112-104.