Rain or Shine bounced back from their back-to-back losses to push this tough, drama-filled championship series against Talk ‘N Text to its limit. Tired of always being the runner up, the Painters played relentless defense, refusing to hand the trophy to TNT last Sunday and forcing a deciding Game 7.
Raymond Almazan made an impressive double-double performance of 18 points (80% effective shooting) and 10 rebounds. Wayne Chism also had a double-double of 18 points albeit on poor 28% effective shooting (1-for-7 from deep) and 24 huge boards. Paul Lee finished with 16 points, five assists, and three steals, while fearless rookie Jericho Cruz added ten markers.
Jeff Chan was earlier reported out of the series due to plantar fasciitis, but the Negros Sniper requested to suit up in Game 6. In just eleven and a half minutes, he managed to contribute 11 points. More than the boost in scoring, his presence on the court provided extra motivation for his teammates.
Rain or Shine won this mainly because of three things:
They pushed the ball at every opportunity.
It’s been established that high-scoring and fast-paced matches are in favor of ROS. The Texters went on an early 8-0 blast, but the Painters quickly recovered and made a 17-2 counter-attack, sparked by the efforts of Almazan – be it on rebounding, scoring off putbacks, boxing out opponents, blocking shots, and drawing fouls. His energy seemed to rub off on his teammates and from then on, they were able to control the game. They beat TNT’s defense with their quick attacks, earning 15 buckets off fastbreak opportunities.
They limited TNT’s inside scoring.
TNT attempts an average of 28 three-pointers per outing. In this game, they had 41 triple attempts. Rain or Shine’s defense forced them to settle for outside jumpers. They were 29.3 percent from dowtown, which is actually better than ROS who only made 25% (10-for-40). But the huge difference lies in their inside scoring. The Painters scored 46 points in the paint, while the Texters only had 28. Another evidence that Rain or Shine’s defense was more effective and in sync this time was Ivan Johnson‘s six points on 4-of-9 shooting. Yep, TNT’s reinforcement could not assert himself, resulting to only NINE field goal attempts. This and his foul trouble frustrated him all throughout the four quarters, which also translated to unsatisfactory rebounding and defensive efforts.
They maximized their long rotation.
Rain or Shine’s bench once again dominated TNT’s, 59-25. They always do, but in their previous loss, they could not provide as much firepower as expected. The Texters had to depend again on their starters doing bulk of the work. They’ve been logging heavy minutes since the start of the series and the whole playoffs. ROS definitely has the advantage in terms of having fresher legs on the floor (and more weapons just waiting to be deployed) every time, and they have capitalized on this strength since Game 1.
That hit by Ivan Johnson to Paul Lee’s face was clearly not a play on the ball and should have been a flagrant foul. He was also involved in bumping incidents (one of which happened in front of the referee as Almazan was about to inbound the ball) that never got called. Oh, and he also chased Chris Tiu after the latter denied him a pass. No warnings? No nothing?
Featured image courtesy of Pranz Kaeno Billones, Sports 5