Rain or Shine levels series with Alaska
by Tito S. Talao
Game Today (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
8 p.m. – San Mig Super Coffee vs Talk ’N Text
Manila, Philippines – Never one to put a lid on his emotions or his vocal cords, Guiao put aside his diagram board for some old-fashioned bawling, letting the Elasto Painters have it after a 26-point third quarter lead went down to nine early in the fourth.
Paul Lee responded by scoring 11 of his 21 points in the last 12 minutes while Jeff Chan had 6 of his 18 as Rain or Shine checked the momentary slide, pulling away for good, 99-87, last night and leveling at 1-1 their PBA PLDT Home Telpad Governors’ Cup semifinals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Game 3 of the best-of-5 semis is tomorrow, 8 p.m., also at the Big Dome.
“Everybody just stepped up,” said Guiao. “Our energy level was different from Game One. We wanted it more than them and I hope we can sustain that desire. I think we played good defense, shot well, and played a fast-paced game which is what we want.”
The Aces stunned the Elasto Painters in the opener, 97-93, but couldn’t produce the same closing-quarter explosion as Lee, Chan and Chris Tiu came out big in the clutch.
The E-Painters were without starting guard Gabe Norwood, who twisted his ankle in Game One.
Arizona Reid led Rain or Shine with 27 points and 13 rebounds, pouring 20 in the first half when they opened a 50-38 advantage after outscoring Alaska, 33-17, in the second quarter.
The game just had 3 deadlocks and 6 leadchanges. But the tension inside the court rose to nerve-fraying level, an atmosphere that might have contributed to an elderly fan suffering what appeared like a heart attack in the fourth quarter. The man was carried out of playing court on a stretcher, halting action for about a minute.
Meanwhile, Grand Slam-seeking San Mig Super Coffee guns for a 3-0 sweep of Talk ‘N Text at 8 tonight at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Mixers took Game One in overtime, 92-88, and made it back-to-back, 93-85.
San Mig coach Tim Cone, who is gunning for his 29th finals appearance, is bracing for war.
“We expect a tough game,” he said. “It’s only two wins; we need another one.”
“It’s do-or-die at this point so we just need to win one game and then take it from there,” said TNT coach Norman Black. “They’re playing at a very high level and playing great team basketball on both ends of the court. It will take a special effort for us to beat them. But this is basketball so it can be done.”
RAIN OR SHINE 99 – Reid 27, Lee 21, Chan 18, Tiu 10, Belga 7, Arana 6, Teng 4, Cruz 2, Almazan 2, Nuyles 2, Ibanes 0, Rodriguez 0.
ALASKA 87 – Manuel 22, Walker 18, Casio 11, Thoss 9, Espinas 8, Abueva 8, Hontiveros 3, Baguio 3, Dela Cruz 2, Buenafe 2, Jazul 1, Bugia 0, Reyes 0, Belasco 0.
Quarters: 17-21; 50-38; 77-59; 99-87