|Petron's JunMar Fajardo (C) is smothered by Rain or Shine defenders in Game 1 of their PBA Governors' Cup semi-finals series Monday at the Araneta Coliseum. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com.
MANILA, Philippines – The Petron Blaze Boosters target their 11th consecutive victory and a 2-0 lead in their best-of-five series against Rain or Shine Monday night in Game 2 of their PBA Governors’ Cup semi-finals showdown at the Cuneta Astrodome.
Petron took Game 1, 91-83, following a 41-point explosion from import Elijah Millsap that allowed the Blaze Boosters to overcome a late Rain or Shine rally.
But only two other Petron players – Alex Cabagnot with 18 and JuneMar Fajardo with 15 – finished in double digits as the Blaze Boosters struggled to string up their 10th straight win.
“We’ve got to get contribution from our locals,” said Petron coach Gee Abanilla. “Some of the locals must step up.”
Abanilla also acknowledged that Rain or Shine, the defending Governors’ Cup champions, “played really well.” “They matched us up pretty well,” he said.
RoS coach Yeng Guiao remains upbeat despite the loss, as he saw how his players were able to hold their own against the top team in the PBA.
“We made it close, and we had a chance to win in the end,” said Guiao. “It’s also a morale booster on our part. We gave them a good fight.”
“It proved that Petron Blaze is not unbeatable,” he stressed.
Rain or Shine trailed by 10 points but rallied all the way back to make it 77-73 in the fourth quarter. But they had no answer for Millsap, who fired 11 straight points in the final frame to take the lead back for Petron.
RoS import Arizona Reid finished with 28 points to go along with 11 rebounds, while Jeff Chan was the only other player in double digits with 16 points.
The Elasto Painters are missing the services of playmaker Paul Lee and may also be without big man JR Quinahan for the rest of the series.
Despite lacking firepower, Guiao said they have not changed their “overall strategy.”
“The overall strategy remains the same, which is to keep it close and give ourselves a chance to win in the end,” he said.
Game time is at 7:15 pm.