Cubao, Philippines – The Rain or Shine Elastopainters win a tight one and escape a San Miguel comeback to gain control of the PBA Philippine Cup Semi-Finals, 111-106.
It was a game of runs with Rain or Shine getting good start in the 1st half by leading 58-50. Entering the 2nd half, San Miguel came back with a surge led by Jun Mar Fajardo scoring 18 of his 40 points in the 3rd quarter alone. The Beermen outscored Rain or Shine, 36-20 to lead by 8 points coming in the 4th quarter.
During the 4th quarter, Rain or Shine then regrouped and managed to chase regained back the lead but it was until Beau Belga who came up with 5 straight points to help his team pull up the lead to 104-98 by the 2:32 mark.
Lassiter managed to keep the game close with a clutch 3-point shot but Norwood countered with a 3-point play of his own to keep the lead at 107-101 coming in the the last two minute mark.
San Miguel came up with a last effort to trim down the lead with another 3-point shot by Lassiter and a basket by Fajardo with 54 seconds left.
Jericho Cruz almost sealed the game with 21.4 seconds left with a 3-pointer and the ball goes back to San Miguel.
In a play designed for Fajardo, Lassiter took the shot and missed with 5 seconds left when in was crowded for Fajardo to take the shot.
Cruz came up with the critical rebound and quickly ran by the sideline until Lassiter gave up a flagrant foul.
Chris Tiu converted both technical free throws and San Miguel never came back since.
“It was a very hard win for us,” said Coach Yeng Guiao of Rain or Shine. “We had to pay a big cost to win this game.” ”
“I’m hoping Jericho (Cruz) injury won’t be serious but on the looks of it… it’s not looking good. We lost Raymond Almazan for this series. We are hoping that we are extend this series long enough. The chances of that look bleak.”
Rain or Shine plays San Miguel again this Monday, January 11 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum for Game 4.
Rain or Shine 111 – Lee 18, Belga 14, Chan 13, Norwood 13, Ponferada 12, Tiu 12, Ahanmisi 10, Quinahan 8, Cruz 6, Nimes 5, Trollano 0.
San Miguel 106 – Fajardo 40, Lassiter 22, Santos 12, Tubid 11, Cabagnot 8, Lutz 6, Espinas 5, Reyes 2, Araña 0, Ross 0.
Quarters: 26-27, 58-50, 78-86, 111-106