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PBA: ROS levels series

Paul Lee of RainOrShine drive against three Alaska players DonDon Hontiveros, Chris Exciminiano and Vic Manuel during PBA action at MOA Arena. Photo by Tony Pionilla

Game Today (Mall of Asia Arena)
7 p.m. – San Miguel Beer vs Talk ‘N Text

Manila, Philippines – There would be no tales of grief for the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters on Christmas Day, only coach Yeng Guiao uncharacteristically thankful for a most unusual holiday gift.

Rain or Shine benefited from a flagrant foul committed by Alaska’s Calvin Abueva in the closing seconds of Game 4 last night to beat the Alaska Aces, 98-91, and lift a foot off the grave in the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals at the Mall of Asia Arena.

With the yuletide cheers heavy in the air, the E-Painters avoided falling into a deep hole, leveling at 2-2 the best-of-7 series and turning it into a best-of-3. ROS’ win gave shape to an even more protracted battle contrary to the other semis series which appears to be winding down faster than a cold draft.

It also guaranteed there will be a Game 6 on January 4.

Jeff Chan led ROS with 25 points while Gabe Norwood added 12 and Beau Belga 11. Sonny Thoss had 25 points for the Aces but fouled out with five minutes remaining.

Abueva added 14 but committed perhaps the biggest blunder of the series, a lapse of major proportion which could ultimately cost the Aces a shot at reaching the Finals and avenging a painful five-game semifinal loss to Alaska in the previous Governors Cup.

With 1:43 remaining and ROS ahead, 92-89, Abueva hit Jonathan Uyloan and drew a flagrant 2 foul. Abueva was ejected and Uyloan went to the free throw line where he sealed the Aces’ fate, along with Norwood.

“Merry Christmas sa lahat,” Guiao opened during the post-game chat. “A good Christmas gift for ourselves. We just stayed tough. They had most of the lead. But we were helped a lot by the stupid move of Abueva.”