RAIN or Shine’s local production proved enough to negate the Alaska import’s dominance as the Elasto Painters hacked out a 105-97 victory to draw first blood in their PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals series on Friday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Paul Lee showed once again he’s nearly back to top shape, pumping in a conference-high 20 points, the last three on a three-point dagger from the left wing that virtually sealed the deal.
The E-Painters star led the local attack that spoiled Rob Dozier’s career-high 41 points on a blistering 18-of-22 shooting to take Game One of the best-of-seven series.
Game Two is on Sunday also at the Big Dome.
“Dozier played a great game for them…parang hindi nagmi-mintis eh,” E-Painters coach Yeng Guiao said. “Our defensive matchups weren’t working until the fourth when he put P on him.”
Guiao was referring to E-Painters import Pierre Henderson-Niles, who contributed just six points, but delivered on defense where he relatively limited Dozier to just nine points after his Alaksa counterpart scored in twin digits in each of the first three quarters.
Henderson-Niles also hauled down 13 boards, along with three steals, one block, and one assist in 33 minutes.
Jericho Cruz sparked the E-Painters’ early surge, scoring 12 of his 18 points in the first quarter, including 10 of his team’s first 16 points, outscoring the Aces’ entire eight points in the first three minutes.
The sluggish Aces settled down from there as they erased their deficit and even took a five-point lead late in the third quarter, before the game turned into a see-saw affair from there.
The Aces pulled to within two, 96-94, after RJ Jazul split his charities, before the E-Painters retaliated with that triple by Lee with 51.4 seconds left that proved to be the insurance points.
That spoiled the defense-oriented Dozier’s career offensive night that saw him hit from anywhere, including flaunting his outside touch.
ROS 105 – Lee 20, Cruz 18, Belga 15, Norwood 11, Ahanmisi 8, Ponferada 7, Henderson-Niles 6, Almazan 4, Quinahan 4, Tiu 4, Chan 3, Ibanes 3, Trollano 2
ALASKA 97 – Dozier 41, Baguio 14, Baclao 10, Abueva 9, Banchero 9, Jazul 5, Dela Rosa 4, Hontiveros 3, Thoss 2, Exciminiano 0
Quarterscores: 29-25, 51-46, 74-77, 105-97