The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters grabbed their sixth win and booked their ticket to the playoffs, notwithstanding Barangay Ginebra San Miguel‘s “homecourt advantage.” Amidst the crowd’s loud boos mostly directed at Beau Belga (more on this later), the Elasto Painters managed to climb out of an 18-point deficit and emerge victorious, 82-79.
ROS made an 11-0 run in the last four and a half minutes, capped by a couple of clutch freebies by Wayne Chism. The import finished with another double-double production of 28 points and 17 rebounds. The locals were more involved this time unlike in the last game when Chism had to carry the scoring load. The Lethal Weapon had 18 points and 11 rebounds across his numbers, while Belga also scored in double digits with 11.
Key Stats and Game Notes
Rain or Shine guarded the paint much better in the second half allowing only 12 inside points, compared to the 22 they gave up in the first 24 minutes of action. Mike Dunigan and Greg Slaughter were having a blast at the start as they bullied their way to the basket against their smaller counterparts.
Ginebra is very difficult to stop once you allow them to work in the shaded area. The efforts of Rain or Shine to deny Dunigan the leather near the rim helped them with their cause as their opponents were forced to take outside jumpers. While they shot decently from midrange, the Gin Kings couldn’t get any break from downtown, making only two of their 14 attempts. Rain or Shine wasn’t any better with their shooting (eFG% of 33.1 when they average 46.4), but they executed better in the endgame.
Ginebra had several opportunities to still bag the win, but their booboos down the stretch cost them the game. Rain or Shine was down by eight, 71-79, when they rallied for 11 unanswered points. LA Tenorio made a sorry fastbreak miss off a steal by Dunigan just before the two-minute mark. With 18 seconds left, Mac Baracael then made a crucial ballhandling error that gave the Painters an opportunity to make it a three-point game to their favor. Off a timeout, Baracael’s tough triple attempt was easily blocked by Belga, drowning any hopes of sending the match to overtime.
Rain or Shine also prevailed in the rebounding battle, and it’s worthy to note the disparity in offensive boards (20-9) and second chance points (13-6). It’s surprising given the height disadvantage, but it’s only Ginebra’s frontcourt who cleaned up missed shots, while almost every Elasto Painter who suited up helped. Rain or Shine did it through team effort led by Chism and Raymond Almazan who combined for nine offensive boards.
Beau Belga against the world
Belga’s first strike with the Barangay crowd was when the much smaller Emman Monfort bounced off him and out of bounds early in the third quarter. Since then, the whole of Cuneta Astrodome has taunted Big Beau every time he gets called for a foul, goes to the free throw line, or simply touches the ball. Of course the burly Gilas reserve trolled the crowd in return.
Yep, he did that repeatedly throughout the second half. And nope, he wasn’t penalized for it. (Or was he? I don’t know what happened when he got called to the
Principal’s Commissioner’s Office the next day.)
The fans went wilder after Belga got entangled on the floor with Mark Caguioa, with the referee just standing inches away from them. It took forever before the whistle was blown, and for a while, I really thought I was about to witness a wrestling match. At least five spectators were sent out of the venue for allegedly throwing bottles of water towards the court.
Paul Lee the Game Changer
Paul Lee has been the constant game changer for the Elasto Painters this conference. He’s been on and off in previous tournaments, so it’s a welcome change how consistent he’s been in this Commissioner’s Cup. I especially like how his rebounding numbers keep on improving (7.3 boards per game, 13 percent total rebounding rate), especially given the scarcity of decent rebounders in the team. He’s the only local ROS player who averages in double digits (17.3 points). His PER of 25.1 is good for a close third among the local players in the league – next to KG Canaleta (25.9) and Gary David (25.8).
Rain or Shine’s remaining games are against Kia and Blackwater and although these might seem easy breezy, they cannot be complacent. Their matchup with Kia is actually something that people look forward to since they’re the only recent champions that the so-called Champion Slayer has yet to defeat – the first ones being SMB, Purefoods, TNT, and Alaska.