MANILA, Philippines - It’s time to deliver – Rain or Shine.
The Elasto Painters continued their amazing run, bucking the continued absence of their prized rookie and showing the heart to come back from 17 points down to gift its coach his 500th win and move within a game of a conference to remember.
They hacked out a 95-89 victory over the beleaguered B-Meg Llamados and took a commanding 3-1 lead in their PBA Governors Cup best-of-seven finals series at the Smart Araneta Coliseum last night.
Jamelle Cornley and his teammates made a big turnaround in the second quarter and played smart and tough to the finish, dropping the Llamados to a hole only one team in league finals had come out of.
The Elasto Painters vowed to do their best to finish off the Llamados in Game Five Wednesday, also at the Big Dome.
“If they’re able to come back strong on Wednesday and get on a roll, they would be hard to stop. This is the right time to pounce on them,” said Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao.
“We’ve got some breathing room, but by no means it’s done. It’s never done until it’s done. We’re on a vulnerable moment as we might think it’s over when it’s not,” Guiao added.
B-Meg coach Tim Cone said they have no other option but to get Game Five.
“I have full of clichés. – it takes four games to win, it’s not over until it’s over, etc. The bottom line, though, is we’ve got to get Game Five. They have future beyond Game Five and we don’t,” said Cone.
The Llamados allowed the E-Painters to move a win shy of a first championship after squandering a 29-12 spread in the first quarter and wavering at the finish in the game that drew a crowd of nearly 14,000 despite bad weather.
This rainy night belonged to the Elasto Painters, who pulled through for the second straight game minus injured ace playmaker Paul Lee, handing Guiao his PBA career 500th victory.
“I thought we had a good effort out there. We got off to a real good start but got frustrated when they came back. They hit big shots down the stretch and we missed couples of gimmes,” rued Cone.
The Elasto Painters proved steadier in the crunch as Cornley, Gabe Norwood and Ronjay Buenafe came through with clutch shots, giving RoS a 92-87 spread with time down to 38.3 seconds.
The Llamados eventually yielded the game with Marcus Blakely missing two charities with B-Meg down by only three, 89-92, with 9.2 ticks left.
Cornley finished with 23 points and 14 rebounds with Norwood adding 18 markers, Buenafe contributing 13 and TY Tang chipping in 11.
Yap, benched in the fourth quarter in Game Three, came out smoking in this game, rifling in 11 points in the first period and wound up with a personal conference best of 25.
B-Meg scored the game’s first 10 points and led by as many as 17 at 29-12 in the first quarter but Rain or Shine rallied ahead at 47-43.
Reserves Tang, Buenafe, JR Quinahan, and Ronnie Matias helped Cornley get the team into the fight in the second quarter, outscoring the Llamados, 30-15.
Buenafe came through with his first of two four-point plays in the game, touching off a 12-to-nothing salvo that gave Rain or Shine its first taste of the lead at 40-39 with 2:52 left in the first half.
B-Meg took control in the early going, drawing boost from Yap and Marcus Blakely who sizzled with 11 and nine points, respectively, in the opening quarter.
Rain or Shine 94 – Jamelle 23, Norwood 18, Buenafe 13, Tang 11, Quinahan 9, Chan 7, Belga 4, Arana 3, Cruz 2, Matias 2, Ibanes 2.
B-Meg 89 – Yap 25, Blakely 22, Simon 14, Urbiztondo 10, Villanueva 5, Pingris 5, Reavis 4, de Ocampo 4, Barroca 0.
Quarterscores: 17-30, 47-45, 74-72, 94-89