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PBA: RoS forces winner-take-all

Joe Devance, Paul Lee and James Yap

by Waylon Galvez

Manila, Philippines – The grand celebration will take place tomorrow.

Rain or Shine made sure of that last night as the gritty Painters demolished San Mig Super Coffee, 88-79, behind a dominating second quarter performance to force a do-or-die match in their PBA Governors’ Cup Finals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Working behind their fluid game that saw them score in spurts and make a stop when they needed to, the Painters broke the game wide open in the second frame to establish a commanding lead which they wisely protected to even their best-of-five series at 2-2.

The fifth and final game is expected to be more colorful, if not dramatic as both teams are determined to fulfill their mission.

The ROS Painters are looking for redemption while the San Mig Mixers are hoping to complete a rare Grand Slam and join Crispa, San Miguel Beer and Alaska as the only teams that won all the three tournaments of the season.

It will be the 36th time in the 39 years of the league that a best-of-five series reached Game 5. But it’s the first in 24 years since Purefoods TJ Hotdogs came back from a 0-2 deficit to rule the 1990 Third Conference against Alaska, which was when handled by current San Mig Supper Coffee Coach Tim Cone.

“It’s really just simple formula in winning, play a lot harder, definitely a lot harder than Game 3,” said Rain or Shine Coach Yeng Guiao. “As long as we are playing with energy and intensity, we have a chance of winning the game.”

“We also have others involved in scoring other than our import. We also played with a lot of defense. We are just postponing their party. We are hoping we have a chance on canceling it on Wednesday,” added Guiao, who now has a chance of giving the franchise its second PBA title, and win as well his seven PBA coaching championship.

Though import Arizona Reid and Paul Lee came through with the numbers expected from them, it was seldom-used guard Jonathan Uyloan who started it all for the Painters.

Playing his first game of the series, Uyloan gave Rain or Shine a huge lift as he scored all his eight points in the second period.

Uyloan, a five-year veteran who averages just 3.2 points before the game, buried back-to-back three-pointers to start the second period – the second one giving the Painters a 27-23 lead with 10:47 in the quarter.

In a performance befitting his status as the Best Import of the conference, Reid scored 22 points and grabbed 17 rebounds, but unlike in Game 3 loss (78-69) last Saturday, he got plenty of support this time from the locals.

Lee and Gabe Norwood finished with 14 points apiece, Beau Belga had 11 markers, while Ryan Arana came off the bench to contribute 10 points.

Rain or Shine led by as many as 20 points in the second quarter, but San Mig Super Coffee rallied and trimmed the deficit to only seven points on a jump shot by Peter June Simon, 66-73.