Paul Lee and Jewel Ponferada’s stellar performance powered Rain or Shine’s 111-106 victory over defending champion San Miguel Beer on Saturday in Game 3 of the best-of-seven semifinals of Philippine Basketball Association Season 41 Philippine Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.
The former University of the East guard, Lee, posted 18 points, Ponferada 12 points, while Beau Belga notched 14 points and 14 rebounds to establish Rain or Shine’s 2-1 lead in the series.
“Very hard win for us we had to pay a big cost to win this game hoping Jericho [Cruz] is not that serious but the looks of it, not look good from our standpoint,” said Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao. “We lost Raymond [Almazan] in this series hope we can extend the series long enough. We’re paying a big cost for the two wins we had we’re willing to take that and take the challenge.”
June Mar Fajardo led San Miguel Beer with 40 points plus 20 rebounds and three blocks.
San Miguel Beer gave Rain or Shine serious trouble by employing tight defense in the early part of the game to close the first quarter ahead by a point 27-26 through the 11 points and three treys of Lassiter.
Rain or Shine, however, retaliated in the second quarter out¬scoring San Miguel Beer 32-23 high¬lighted by a strong 11-2 run en route to a 58-50 advantage at the half. The Beermen responded with an explosive third quarter rally to recapture the lead 86-78 entering the fourth quarter.
But the Elasto Painters out¬scored the Beermen in the fourth quarter 33-20 to clinch a one-game advantage in the series.
Meanwhile, GlobalPort seeks to bounce back against Alaska and tie the series 2-2 today in Game 4 at the Araneta Coliseum at 5 p.m. The Aces, on the other hand, are keen on reaching their 29th overall finals appearance in the Philippine Cup.
After being beaten by the Batang Pier in Game 1 (93-107) five days ago, the Aces came back stronger beating the Batang Pier in Game 2 (100-76) and Game 3 (82-69).
“After Game 2, they wanted to be strict with what we’re doing,” said Alaska coach Alex Compton during interview. “We’re up one game against arguably the most explosive team in the league. No way we’re going to be content, we’re not there yet.”
GlobalPort team owner Mikee Romero lambasted his players for playing soft in Game 3. “To our GlobalPort Batang Pier fans: “No excuses, the team is just choking. Period. Our team is playing like a bunch of girls in a men’s league,” Romero posted in his Facebook account.
The Batang Pier are expected to lean on Terrence Romeo, Stanley Pringle, Billy Mamaril, Joseph Yeo, Rico Maierhofer, Keith Jensen and Anthony Jay Washington in Game 4.
The Aces are looking for consistent performance from Calvin Abueva, RJ Jazul and Vic Manuel in Game 4 to control the series.
Besides the three, Cyrus Baguio, Dondon Hontiveros, Jayvee Casio, Tony Dela Cruz and Sonny Thoss are also expected to step up for Alaska.