|B-Meg's Marc Pingris fights for possession against JR Quinahan of Rain or Shine in Game 1 of their best-of-seven PBA Governors Cup Finals. Rain or Shine won, 91-80. Photo: ABS-CBNnews.com.
MANILA, Philippines - Rain or Shine played like a champion team in its first-ever finals game, hardly showing jitters as the Elasto Painters walloped the B-Meg Llamados, 91-80, in the opener of their PBA Governors Cup best-of-seven title playoff at the Smart Araneta Coliseum last night.
The Elasto Painters displayed character that produces championships, fighting the Llamados toe-to-toe in the first half before pressing their bid and finishing with a flurry for the emphatic win that could well give them positive vibes for Game Two.
A crowd of nearly 12,000 braved the stormy night and witnessed the finals debutants frustrate the reigning Commissioner’s Cup champs.
To his frustration and disappointment, coach Tim Cone committed a flagrant misconduct in throwing a monobloc chair on the court for an outright ejection with 7:23 left in the game.
Jamelle Cornley, Paul Lee, Gabe Norwood and Ronjay Buenafe fired at least 10 points each and the whole RoS team hit at an impressive 51.5-percent clip to win the game convincingly.
It also helped that they played well on the defensive end, holding down Marcus Blakely to just 12 points and seven rebounds.
"I'm really proud of the way the boys handled the pressure and the way we played our defense in the second half," said Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao.
"We had problem with our rebounding in the first half. Once we got settled down and able to soak up the atmosphere, we played our regular game and we’re okay from then on," Guiao added.
The RoS mentor thought they enjoyed the advantage of being fresher in setting out for this game.
His B-Meg counterpart, however, said it’s not about tiredness but the over physicality of the game.
"We're not tired. It's more of we got frustrated with all the stuffs that’s going on out there. We'll break down the video and present our case to the commissioner," said Cone.
"That's their style of play. You have to respond to it, but I'm afraid people might get hurt when you do that," Cone added.
The physicality of the match was evident right in the first half where three technical fouls were called. JR Quinahan committed a technical infraction versus Marc Pingris while Jamelle Cornley and Yancy de Ocampo incurred a double "T."
The Elasto Painters did handle themselves well in the battle, establishing control in the third quarter and going on to dominate the final period.
Norwood scored on a jam and rifled in a trey in a 10-1 run as the Elasto Painters broke the back of the Llamados, 80-65.
Cone did his stunt after the Elasto Painters made it a double-digit spread at 74-64 on back-to-back baskets by Norwood and Cornley.
Picking his shots, Cornley went 11-of-14 from the field and led all scorers with 25 points that went with 11 rebounds, four assists and one steal.
Lee, Norwood and Buenafe bombed away two triples each and finished with a combined total output of 34 points. James Yap paced the losing team with 19.
Jonas Villanueva sank a buzzer-beating three-pointer as B-Meg took the half at 39-35.
The battle was as tight as it was rugged with neither team leading by more than five in the first 24 minutes of play.
The opening quarter, 18-16, belonged to the Elasto Painters as they drew eight points from Lee on perfect 3-of-3 field shooting coming off the bench.
NOTES: Gary David, Mark Caguioa, Marc Pingris, James Yap and Paul Lee are the official candidates for the Best Player of the Conference award to be handed out before Game Two Wednesday. The BPC winner in the mid-season Commissioner’s Cup, Caguioa is a strong bet for the same award in the season-ending tourney with a total of 449 SPs as against Yap's 392 and David's 363. In terms of average SPs, David is No. 1 with 33.00 a game, followed by Caguioa (29.93), Pingris (27.69), Yap (26.1) and Lee (26.08)…..Air21 beat Alaska Milk in the lottery for the first pick in the coming PBA Rookie Draft. The coveted draft rights, however, will go to Petron by virtue of the previous trade deal between the Boosters and the Express.
RAIN OR SHINE 91 – Cornley 25, Lee 14, Norwood 10, Buenafe 10, Belga 8, Ibanes 8, Chan 7, Arana 4, Quinahan 4, Cruz 1.
B-MEG 80 – Yap 19, Blakely 12, Pingris 12, Simon 9, Gaco 8, Barroca 6, Villanueva 5, Reavis 4, Urbiztondo 3, De Ocampo 2.
Quarterscores: 18-16, 35-39, 66-59, 91-80