Now Talk N’ Text is one win away from the championship.
Rain or Shine was off to a rousing start as they dictated the pace early, read TNT’s defense, and responded accordingly. It did not last long, however, as the Texters broke away in the second period, limiting ROS to only 13 points while dropping 29. The Painters attempted to come back from a 20-point deficit but their late-game surge was, well, too late. This 103-94 victory gave Talk N’ Text a 3-2 edge heading into Game 6.
Ugly 2nd quarter
All five starters of TNT took turns in guarding Paul Lee in the first 12 minutes, but the Lethal Weapon kept shrugging them all off with his fearless drives and superb passing. He earned nine quick points, but he wouldn’t score again until the final period.
The second frame was a different story altogether as Rain or Shine was hounded by fouls and turnovers. They committed ten fouls that really frustrated them and sent the Texters to the charity stripe ten times. The Painters’ early penalty situation gave TNT the license to keep attacking their scrambling defense. ROS also collected seven of their 16 turnovers in this period with their careless passes. The Uyloan–Teng–Almazan–Ibanes–Jervy Cruz lineup could not hold their own against the second unit of TNT + Castro. It took roughly seven minutes and an 18-8 onslaught by the Texters before Wayne Chism and Paul Lee were inserted back on the floor.
Killer ball screens
TNT is giving Rain or Shine a dose of their own medicine. In their back-to-back wins, ROS made life difficult for the Texters with their ball screen offense. Now that TNT figured out a way to counter it by putting Harvey Carey on Lee, creating little mismatch in case of a defensive switch as the former can take care of the big men of ROS. This forces Lee to look for options other than the screener, or for the other ROS guard (with a smaller defender) to set the offense instead of Lee.
Here in Game 5, TNT made a living out of ball screens featuring Jayson Castro and Ranidel de Ocampo. Several times in the second half, Beau Belga ended up guarding Castro after the switch, and that’s when ROS got abused the most. They should never ever allow Belga to end up manning the much quicker Castro. Coach Yeng Guiao adjusted by pulling out Belga, who hasn’t made that much of an impact in the series so far, and bringing back Gabe Norwood. It hurt that Raymond Almazan fouled out (flop on at least two calls?) although Rakenrol also could not get his usual points and boards compared to previous games.
How about de Ocampo making his case for Finals MVP every game? Basically, whatever defense Rain or Shine tries to employ, HE JUST DOESN’T CARE. He’ll railroad whoever’s protecting the paint and he’ll shoot threes over outstretched arms. Bastos eh. With him and Castro both proving to be unstoppable, Rain or Shine is in deep, serious trouble. RDO finished with 27 points on 76 percent true shooting (average of 23 points on 65.1 TS% in the series), eight rebounds, and four assists.
How will the Elasto Painters adjust for the next battle?
Featured image courtesy of Paul Ryan Tan, Sports 5