EVEN without Paul Lee, Rain or Shine vowed to level the best-of-five semifinals series when it battles anew top seed Petron Blaze at 7:15 p.m. today in the 2013 Philippine Basketball Association Governor’s Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.
The Blaze Boosters escaped with a 91-83 win in the opening game of the series on Monday to stretch its winning streak to 10 games including eight in the elimination and one in the quarterfinals.
Elijah Millsap led the Blaze Boosters’ rally in the fourth period by scoring 11 straight points en route to posting a 1-0 lead in the series. The prolific 6’4 import scored 41 points on top of 14 rebounds and three assists to notch the Boosters’ longest winning streak in 24 years.
“Elijah Millsap bailed us out in the opening game of the series. But we’ve got to get contributions from our locals. Some of our local players must step up in the second game on Wednesday,” said Petron head coach Gee Abanilla.
Abanilla is expecting another strong performance from 6’10 center June Mar Fajardo, who finished with 15 points, 17 rebounds and two block shots in 36 minutes of action.
“I’m focused. I am really avoiding any distraction so I have to be patient and prepared myself for the physical game,” said the former University of Cebu stalwart, who will turn 24 on November 27.
The 6’1 guard Lee, a second overall pick by Rain or Shine in 2011, is currently nursing an injured calf, which he sustained during the quarterfinals match against Globalport on September 26. This is the second straight Governor’s Cup playoff that he missed.
He also suffered a shoulder injury during the finals against B-Meg Llamados last year.
“It’s really depressing especially when our team is losing,” said the reigning “Rookie of the Year” awardee.