Manila, Philippines – They shoved, they pushed, and they won Game 3.
If that’s what it takes to win another game, defending champion Rain or Shine will not change its approach in Game 4 as it tries to level the series against top seed Petron Blaze in their semifinal series in the PBA Governors’ Cup today at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Boosters still lead the best-of-five series – two games to one – and can close it out with a victory at 7:15 p.m.
However, momentum has shifted now to Rain or Shine’s side following a 92-87 victory in Game 3 Saturday night that snapped Petron Blaze’s franchise record 11 game-winning streak that started in the elimination round of the season-ending conference.
“We like to use this as capital to encourage ourselves to grind it out,” said Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao.
“All three games are hard games. We know we can’t win easy, although we want to reciprocate by not giving them also easy games. The longer the series goes the better for us,” added Guiao, whose team lost Games 1 (91-83) and 2 (90-88).
The Elasto Painters dictated the tempo with their physicality, allowing the Boosters to just 26-of-79 shooting from the field or just 32.9% – the team’s lowest in the series.
Affected by the kind of defense Rain or Shine put up was import Elijah Millsap, who had 17 points but struggled on 4-of-21 shooting as Gabe Norwood and Jireh Ibanes took turns in guarding him, while the team’s 6-foot-10 rookie center June Mar Fajardo only had nine points and the same numbers of boards against the smaller 6-foot-6 centers Beau Belga and JR Quinahan, who missed Game 2 with an Achilles injury.
When the Elasto Painters blew a 12-point lead (65-53) midway in the third quarter and fell behind by nine points (85-76) with 8:37 left to play, Rain or Shine used a big 13-0 run highlighted by three-pointers each from TY Tang, import Arizona Reid, Quinahan and Jeff Chan for an 89-85 advantage with 2:04 left in the game.
“It’s actually the threes that spelled the difference. If we didn’t make the shots, tapos na sana ang series,” said Guiao. (Waylon Galvez)