Series Preview: Rain or Shine vs. Petron
Deep inside, I wanted an upset, but I really wasn’t expecting it. Given how the odds were stacked so much in Petron’s favour, I watched the game prepared to accept a Petron blow-out win if it came to it.
But it never came. Instead, we got treated to a back and forth game that saw the following end-quarter scores:
1st Quarter: 26-23 Petron
2nd Quarter: 49-44 Petron
3rd Quarter: 73-68 Petron
Final Score: 91-83 Petron
Petron needed a late 4th quarter run, fuelled by Elijah Millsap’s eleven straight points (41 in the game), another Cabagnot clutch trey and steady freethrows by Fajardo to finally hold off a Rain or Shine team that were poised to steal it from the get-go.
So how did the Elasto Painters make a game out of it? Here are two observations
Rain or Shine did a very good job in all things transition in this opening game. What I particularly loved about it was how Coach Yeng placed a premium on bottling up Petron’s transition game by making sure that three to four defenders immediately went back down on defense once a Rain or Shine shot was put up. Often times, there would really only be one ROS player (Reid/Belga) attempting offensive boards, with the rest of the team already setting up their defense. This commitment on the defensive end helped hold Petron to only 39.2% shooting, with their misses allowing Rain or Shine to get a rhythm for their running game going, giving them an advantage in both fastbreak attempts and points (11/13 vs. 7/7).
A Patient Offense
In the halfcourt, the Elasto Painters also showed a very poised version of their offensive game. Tonight, we saw both Beau Belga and Jeff Chan give up semi-contested three pointers to either pass to a better shot or drive the lane. In fact, only three out of Chan’s 16 points came from rainbow shots, while two of Belga’s four assists came from passes from top of the key three point territory. Sadly, the team went away from this at times in the 3rd quarter, with their trigger happy ways from beyond the arc allowing Petron to build a double digit lead midway through the 3rd canto.
All in all, it was a good effort from the Elasto Painters. This could definitely be considered a moral victory as Petron needed every single one of Millsap’s 41 points to pull this one out. It’s an adjustment game from now on though, so expect new wrinkles from both coaches come Wednesday.