The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters bounced back from their Game 1 loss and successfully evened the best-of-seven series with a 102-95 victory over the Alaska Aces. It seemed like a repeat of the semis opener was about to unfold with the Aces threatening to take over late in the game, but this time around, the Elasto Painters held on and refused to give away the W.
ROS relied heavily on the solid performances of Jervy Cruz who finished with a double-double of 19 points and 12 rebounds and Jonathan Uyloan who contributed 18 points, four rebounds, three assists, and two steals.
JR Quinahan also deserves credit for the crucial stops he made down the stretch. I particularly liked how he closed the doors on Eric Menk in one play, right after botching an important possession due to a bad pass. Paul Lee, who has been struggling with his shots since Game 1, was also instrumental during crunch time with his back-to-back triples and clutch freebies that silenced the rallying Aces.
A turnaround to the turnover story
Rain or Shine is second-best in the league in terms of taking care of the leather (TOV% of 12.9) but it’s unfortunate for them that they’re up against Alaska who’s second-best in forcing turnovers (Opp TOV% of 16.6). Looking back at Game 1, ROS committed several errors especially in the endgame, causing the lead to slip away from their hands. They gave away 23 points to the Aces off their 19 turnovers.
|Game 1 TOV (TOV Points)||Game 2 TOV (TOV Points)|
|19 (15)||14 (15)|
|18 (23)||25 (9)|
In Game 2, it was Alaska who had one too many errors that Rain or Shine converted into points, particularly in the first half where the Aces turned the ball over 14 times (several unforced ones at that) that resulted to 11 buckets. These paved the way for the Painters to establish a 21-pt margin early in the third frame. ROS could have earned more from TOVs but the Aces’ more polished defense in the second half prevented them from breaking away as easily as in the first.
Frantic pace and high-scoring match
Although the fastbreak points of Rain or Shine were significantly down from the previous game (14 points from 21), it’s still the frantic pace that gave advantage to the Painters. Entering the half, Rain or Shine gained 55 points on 47 attempts while only allowing 36 points on 38 attempts.
Only Menk managed to score in double digits for the Aces (11pts) after two quarters. Cruz and Uyloan by this time already had 11 apiece, with Raymond Almazan and Gabe Norwood also doing damage on the offensive end on top of their good defensive showing. They were able to hold off the rest of the Aces, including Calvin Abueva, to four points at most.
The second half was once again a different story. Coach Alex Compton fielded the right mix (headed by the duo of Abueva and Ping Exciminiano) that could keep up with the Painters, and for a while, it looked as if the Aces would be able to turn the situation around. But the already high-scoring match was clearly in favor of Rain or Shine, and Alaska, despite their huge third quarter run, still fell short in the end.
1. Norwood airballed TWO free throws. I wouldn’t be surprised had Alaska resorted to a hack-a-Gabe strategy, given his ugly 5-of-11 record from the line that night.
2. The Painters’ three-point shooting was relatively better than the last, but they can still do better. Jeff Chan and the Extra Rice Inc., who are usually reliable outside shooters, have all misfired from downtown (0-of-8 combined total).
3. Rain or Shine is being bullied on the glass. So far, they’re averaging 46 boards compared to Alaska’s 56. Needless to say (especially since Coach Yeng Guiao himself has been emphasizing it every postgame), they need to fight harder for possessions.
Featured image courtesy of Nuki Sabio, Interaksyon