RAIN or Shine had a better start and didn’t have to go through a tough finish this time as it frustrated Barangay Ginebra, 102-89, on Tuesday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum to advance to the semifinals of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
The Elasto Painters, who went down big early before hacking out an 88-84 win in Game One, went off to a blistering start this time and sustained the pace on the way to sweeping the Gin Kings in their best-of three series.
Jeff Chan and JR Quinañahan continued their splendid showings, while import Pierre Henderson-Niles provided stability anew for the E-Painters, who will meet the winner of the San Miguel Beer-Star pairing.
“We didn’t expect to go two-zero against Ginebra,” RoS coach Yeng Guiao admitted. “But we played excellent defense especially in the second half and controlled the tempo.”
The E-Painters thus marched to the semifinals for the ninth straight conference, the longest since Alaska also did the feat from 1995 to 2000.
“We’re the most consistent team in the league and we take pride in that,” Guiao said as his team also left the Gin Kings out the Final Four for the seventh straight conference.
Chan registered a team-high 22 points, including 10 in the payoff period and two on a jumper that gave the E-Painters their biggest lead at 98-82, while Quinahan was efficient anew with 21 points, five boards, and one block in 26 minutes off the bench.
Henderson-Niles tallied just 10 points and 14 boards in 29 minutes, his numbers failing to compare to that of Gin Kings reinforcement Othyus Jeffers, who pumped in 27 points, 14 boards, six assists, and three steals.
But the RoS import anchored the paint and refused to let the Gin Kings score easy baskets.
ROS 102 – Chan 22, Quinahan 21, Ahanmisi 13, Henderson Niles 10, Almazan 6, Norwood 6, Belga 5, Cruz 5, Tiu 5, Teng 4, Lee 3, Ponferada 2, Ibanes 0
GIN 89 – Jeffers 27, Aguilar 14, Slaughter 14, Tenorio 11, Caguioa 10, Devance 7, Ellis 4, Thompson 2, Helterbrand 0, Marcelo 0, Mercado 0
Quarterscores: 31-21, 50-44, 77-64, 102-89