MANILA, Philippines – Jeff Chan scored 18 points as the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters defeated the San Mig Coffee Mixers, 91-83, in Game 1 of their best-of-seven semi-final series in the PBA Philippine Cup Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum.
Three other players scored in double figures for Rain or Shine, with Paul Lee and Larry Rodriguez firing 15 points and Beau Belga scoring 13. Jervy Cruz hauled down 15 rebounds.
"It's a long series, and it's just the first game," Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao told the league website. "But you win the first, and you're close to 70% chance of winning. We want to be in that position."
Rain or Shine held a 65-57 lead going into the final period but the Mixers rallied to come as close as four points, 81-85. But Belga sparked a 6-0 run that allowed the Painters to build a 10-point cushion, 91-81.
"The bigger frontline of San Mig Coffee was a concern, but we needed to just work harder than they did to at least equalize," said Guiao. "We're confident we can stay with them, we can match up with them."
"They're the best defensive team but I know we're second best. We have two good defensive teams playing together and it's a matter of execution," he added.
Guiao praised Chan, who entered the game mired in a shooting slump but was efficient from the field against San Mig.
"Jeff finally got his range back, and he was a big help," Guiao said.
Yancy de Ocampo scored 17 points for the Mixers, while five other players scored ind ouble figures. But James Yap was limited to only 11 points on 3-of-13 shooting from the field.
RAIN OR SHINE 91 – Chan 18, Lee 15, Rodriguez 15, Belga 13, Cruz 7, Arana 7, Norwood 5, Quiñahan 5, Matias 4, Tiu 2, Ibanes 0
SAN MIG 83 – De Ocampo 17, Pingris 14, Simo 13, Barroca 12, Devance 12, Yap 11, Intal 2, Reavis 2, Ramos 0, Gonzales 0
Quarter scoring: 24-23, 41-38, 65-57, 91-83