Rain or Shine survived San Miguel Beer’s last minute rally en route to a narrow 98-96 win in Game 2 of the best-of-five semifinals of the Philippine Basketball Association Season 41 Commissioner’s Cup at the Araneta Coliseum on Tuesday.
Guard Jericho Cruz led Rain or Shine with 16 points while import Pierre Henderson-Niles finished with 15 points, 16 rebounds and three assists.
Jeff Chan posted 14 points, rookie Maverick Ahanmisi notched 10 points, eight rebounds and five assists while JR Quinahan contributed nine points also for the Elasto Painters.
“I’ am overwhelmed of how the players played tonight,” said assistant coach Caloy Garcia. “Coach Yeng [Guiao] gave instructions last night to run the whole game. We just need to work on other things. We can’t be complacent.”
San Miguel Beer, just like in Game One, grabbed the lead, 28-21, in the opening quarter. But Rain or Shine outscored them in the second quarter 24-18 to close the gap, 46-45, at halftime. The Elasto Painters managed to keep the lead until the end of third period 69-66.
After enjoying a 95-87 advantage at the last 1:09 minute mark, Rain or Shine almost lost the game when San Miguel Beer launched an explosive 8-3 attack highlighted by Alex Cabagnot’s back-to-back triples and Wilkeron’s three-point play that reduced the deficit to 96-97 with only 17 ticks to go.
Paul Lee, who finished with six points, connected with one of his two free throws to give Rain or Shine a two-point lead with only 13 seconds to go.
Marcio Lassiter’s supposed game-winning three-pointer didn’t make it on time allowing Rain or Shine to escape with a slim win.
Lassiter finished with only three points on 1-of-11 shooting in the field while import Tyler Wilkerson led San Miguel Beer with 35 points plus 18 rebounds and five assists.
Meanwhile, Alaska aims for a 2-0 edge against Meralco in Game 2 of the other best-of-five semifinals series today at the same venue. The Aces won Game One on Monday 97-94.
JOSEF T. RAMOS