Beau Belga of Rain or Shine (dark) vs Greg Slaughter of Ginebra (light). Photo provided by PBA images
MANILA, Philippines - (UPDATED) Rain or Shine showed its meanest form in quite a while as the gritty Elasto Painters overcame Gabe Freeman’s explosive 23-point first-half explosion and thwarted the Barangay Ginebra Kings, 105-101, in overtime to secure the last spot in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup best-of-three quarterfinals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum last night.
Wayne Chism, merely providing Rain or Shine defensive presence in his initial outings, finally asserted himself on both ends of the floor with Paul Lee, Beau Belga and Jervy Cruz delivering the needed support as the E-Painters salvaged the crucial game that sent them all the way to a fourth place finish in the eliminations.
Earlier in the day, Alaska Milk walloped a badly undermanned San Mig Coffee side, 85-66, to end up third behind Talk n Text and San Miguel Beer.
Meralco came in fifth then San Mig Coffee sixth, Air21 seventh and Ginebra eighth.
Playoffs action begins today also at the Big Dome with the start of the best-of-three series pitting Rain or Shine versus Meralco and Alaska Milk against San Mig Coffee.
Tomorrow at the same venue, Talk n Text and San Miguel Beer take their first of two cracks at the semis versus Ginebra and Air21. The Kings and the Express need to win two in a row to steal berths in the Final Four.
“Theirs was about rest while we wanted to keep our rhythm,” said Alaska coach Luigi Trillo after clobbering the San Mig Coffee squad that rested import James Mays and key locals James Yap, Marc Pingris and Justin Melton.
Playing an all-important matchup, the Elasto Painters and the Kings engaged in a furious battle that went to overtime on key charities by Belga.
The E-Painters roared on in OT with Chism, Lee, Cruz, Belga and Gabe Norwood outworking Freeman, Greg Slaughter, Mark Caguioa, Jayjay Helterbrand and Chris Ellis.
“We got the stops that we needed in the endgame. Gabe Freeman proved to be a real matchup problem as I expected. But as I also expected, Chism showed up with what he can do on offense. Then also our locals stepped up,” said RoS coach Yeng Guiao.
Freeman was held to six points after exploding for 23 on 9-of-17 shooting in the first half.
“This is where we wanted to be. That’s what we worked for tonight. We got to a bad start in the conference and all we wanted was to be in the quarters on even match without any disadvantage,” Guiao also said.