Rain or Shine closed out the series with a 124-99 victory against San Miguel Beer in Game 4 to earn the first finals slot of the Philippine Basketball Association Season 41 Commissioner’s Cup on Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum.
Paul Lee racked up 18 points plus five assists to lead Rain or Shine, while import Pierre Henderson-Niles tallied 15 points along with 14 rebounds and four steals guiding the Elasto Painters to second Commissioner’s Cup finals appearance and sixth overall finals appearance.
Gabe Norwood finished with 15 points, while Chris Tiu, Jericho Cruz and Raymond Almazan added 13, 12 and 10 points, respectively, for Rain or Shine.
San Miguel Beer’s returning import Arizona Reid scored 25 points along with 17 rebounds and five assists.
Rain or Shine, playing like there was no tomorrow in the early going of the game, closed out halftime leading with 61-42. Despite the Beermen’s resistance, the Elasto Painters controlled the second half keeping up their 20-point lead to seal the victory.
Alaska tries to clinch second final berth
The Alaska Aces will try to finish the Meralco Bolts on Monday in Game 4 of their best-of-five semifinals series at 7 p.m.
Three days after scoring a lopsided 92-72 Game 3 win to get a 2-1 lead in the series, the Aces are keen on claiming the second finals berth.
“It is not yet through [the series],” Alaska forward Calvin Abueva, who posted 23 points, 12 rebounds and two assists in Game 3, told reporters during the post game interview. “We can’t be complacent even though we’re ahead at 2-1 because they will prepare for a comeback. In Game 4, I will just do my job again. I’m more focus on winning than my points and other stats. Winning is important than those things,” he added.
Besides Abueva, former Best Import winner Robert Dozier, who had 25 points in Game 3, will try to duplicate the same performance to send his team to the finals.
Alaska will also lean on RJ Jazul, Cyrus Baguio, Chris Banchero, Dondon Hontiveros and Sonny Thoss.
Banchero added 16 points including the important baskets the last time out.
For Bolts head coach Norman Black, he won’t go specifically in details, but they need to win in Game 4 to stay alive in the series. “I don’t have any comment right now nor any quotes. We need to win and play the best possible defense we can in Game 4,” Black told The Manila Times in a phone interview.
Meralco will bank on import Arinze Onuaku, Jared Dillinger, Cliff Hodge, rookie Chris Newsome, Jimmy Alapag, Reynel Hugnatan, Anjo Caram, Bryan Faundo and rookie playmaker Baser Amer.
JOSEF T. RAMOS