by Waylon Galvez
Game Wednesday (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
8 p.m. – Rain or Shine vs San Mig
Tired from a grueling seven-game semis series with Ginebra San Miguel?
Not San Mig Coffee.
Even a stinging Game 1 defeat was a distraction for the Mixers as they used a hot start to foil the Rain or Shine Painters, 80-70, and level their Finals series in the 2014 PLDT myDSL PBA Philippine Cup last night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
With PJ Simon coming through with a variety of shots reminiscent to their Game 7 win over the Gin Kings and James Yap providing the needed firepower this time, the Mixers dominated the game to win pulling away to the delight of coach Tim Cone.
“It turned out a pretty good day. The guys were surprisingly ready,” said Cone, who is in the Finals for the 27th time as coach – third with the San Mig Corporation-owned franchise.
“We’re a little tired going into Game 1, I know they’ll play that one with adrenalin after playing a Game 7. But we kept strong and kept our poise, and we’re able to pull it out. Now we get this thing to a best-of-five,” Cone added.
Simon scattered 15 points to lead a balanced attack that saw four other San Mig players score in double digits, including a double-double effort from forward Marc Pingris with 11 points and 12 rebounds.
Yap and forward Joe Devance contributed 13 points apiece while rookie center Ian Sangalang added 10 points and six rebounds as the Mixers tied the best-of-seven series at 1-1.
Rain or Shine took the series-opener last Friday, 83-80.
Cone took the blame in San Mig’s 83-80 Game 1 setback, particularly when he called a timeout when they don’t have it anymore.
The Mixers appeared to be in a cruise as Cone never called a single timeout in the fourth quarter (he had five, three one-minute full and two 30-second).
After Lee drained a three-pointer to start the final period that trimmed San Mig’s lead to 58-51, the Mixers answered it with a 19-8 run with Pingris scattering seven points capped by a hook shot for a 77-55 advantage with 3:59 left in the game.
San Mig converted 34-of-82 (41.5%) from the field while holding Rain or Shine to just 29-of-78 (37.2%).
Jeff Chan was the only double-figure scorer for the Elasto Painters with 18 points.
Despite the loss, Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao is upbeat on his team’s chances in the series.
“We struggled all game long with our offense,” said Guiao, who owns six championships in the PBA but is still looking for his first title in an all-Filipino conference. “I think you have to give to San Mig the credit for playing good defense on us.”
“But I’m not really worried. As I’ve said, the longer the finals series takes the better for us. Winning Game 1 gives us an adjustment advantage,” added Guiao.