Game Today (Mall of Asia Arena)
5 p.m. – Rain or Shine vs Alaska
Manila, Philippines – With their series reduced to a best-of-3, Rain or Shine and Alaska square off from the start of the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals, with Game 5 today pivotal in their drive to reach the Finals at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Gametime is at 5 p.m., with the Elasto Painters riding the momentum of their 98-91 victory on Christmas Day which leveled the best-of-7 affair at 2-2.
As of presstime yesterday, no decision has yet been made by the Commissioner’s Office on the fate of Alaska forward Calvin Abueva, who was slapped a flagrant 2 foul and ejected with a little over a minute left Thursdayafter punching ROS shooter Jonathan Uyloan in the stomach.
Uyloan doubled over in pain and ROS, ahead, 92-89, at that point, used the incident to break away with a decisive run.
Later, E-Painters coach Yeng Guiao would thank Abueva for “that stupid move” as the Aces lost an opportunity to go up, 3-1, and probably an even bigger chance at avenging their 2013 Governors Cup semis loss to ROS.
Abueva has been summoned by PBA commissioner Chito Salud, and although a suspension may not be forthcoming, a very fine is more than likely to be handed down.
“We wanted to win this one, and we got a big help from that stupid move of Abueva,” said Guiao.
“It’s a good Christmas gift to ourselves. We struggled for three quarters but we gathered ourselves in the fourth period. We stayed tough though they had the lead most of the way.”
Guiao underscored the importance of Game 5 even as took another dig at his fellow Pampango.
“It’s down to a best of three and this game is the most important. We just can’t rely on a stupid move by Abueva. We have to rely on our own,” Guiao said.
Abueva refused to talk to the media after the game while Uyloan vehemently denied that he faked getting hurt by the sneaky shot from Abueva.
Aces center Sonny Thoss and E-Painters gunner Jeff Chan cancelled each other out with 25 points apiece. But Thoss fouled out with four minutes remaining as ROS rallied from a 71-64 third quarter deficit.
Alaska took the opener, 87-80, but ROS came back to tie the series, 102-95, in Game 2 before the Aces again seized control with a 94-78 triumph in Game 3.
The winner here will face whoever emerges from the San Miguel Beer-Talk ‘N Text series in the best-of-7 championship. The Beermen lead, 3-0, and can pull off a sweep with a victory in Game 4.