Rain or Shine forces a do or die game after diffusing TNT
Gabe Norwood scored 15 points to extend the season for ROS (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)
This game featured two different teams with identical situations coming into the game. Both teams are still in working progress as they've undergone coaching changes. Both teams also traded some of their longtime players so they're building new chemistry amongst themselves. The only difference is that in this quarterfinal series, one team has to win twice before moving on into the semifinals and that team is the Rain or Shine Elato Painters. Sure, beating the Talk N Text KaTropa on two consecutive occasions may be a big challenge but it's not impossible, right?
Just when everyone thought that there would be another come-from-behind win again, nope. Not this time. The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters survived despite being held scoreless for almost 4 minutes in the 4th quarter as they beat the TNT KaTropa, 106-102.
The game between the KaTropa and the Elasto Painters began with both engaging in an exchange of scored baskets especially those that are off forced turnovers. Both teams were able to run the open floor and score on multiple attempts from the three-point line as the first quarter ended with TNT up by 2, at 28-26. When the 2nd quarter began, it became a battle of forced turnovers as TNT was able to take advantage the Elasto Painters' mistakes by scoring on the other end. Then, TNT on a scoring run to increase their lead to 8 only for Rain or Shine to climb right back at as they tied the game with under 4 minutes to go in the quarter. The Elasto Painters took the lead and built an 8-point lead of their own after J'Nathan Bullock nailed a jumper with 1:57 on the clock, forcing Nash Racela to call for a timeout.
Rain or Shine entered the halftime break with a 5-point lead, at 52-47 thanks to Bullock's 23 points to lead all scorers. The Elasto Painters did everything right in the first half from the field goal shooting at 46% including 40% from beyond the arc, to the making extra passes which results in a 13-8 advantage in the total assists.
For TNT, Anthony Semerad exploded for 11 of 16 first-half points in the first quarter alone to lead the KaTropa. Jayson Castro and Glen Rice Jr. added 9 points apiece. Even though TNT struggled offensively in the first half, they took advantage of the fastbreak points, holding a 6-4 edge in that category. In addition to this, the KaTropa were able to keep the score close for the majority of the first half by scoring more off their own missed opportunities as they also held a 9-2 advantage in terms of second-chance points.
Troy Rosario opened the scoring in the 3rd quarter by making a shot off an offensive rebound only to be answered by Chris Tiu on the other end. Jayson Castro soon scored on a lay-up and Kelly Williams added another field goal to put KaTropa back in the lead at 58-56 with 8:37 to play in the quarter, forcing Coach Caloy Garcia to call a timeout. The Elasto Painters scored on back-to-back three-pointers made by Chris Tiu and Gabe Norwood to give them the lead. Another trey by Beau Belga pushed the lead to 6 with 6 minutes to spare. Then, Kelly Williams scored on an alley-oop dunk off a lob from Castro to cut the lead down to 1 in the next few possessions.
Glen Rice Jr. later dunked on THREE defenders and Roger Pogoy added another lay-up to put TNT back in the lead and was followed by an acrobatic lay-up by Kelly Williams. with under 4 to play. After a couple of missed shots by the KaTropa, the Elasto Painters took back the lead on another pair of three-pointers by Gabe Norwood and J'Nathan Bullock. Kelly Williams added another dunk plus a free throw but Rain or Shine scored as they took an 84-75 lead heading into the 4th quarter.
Don Trollano scored on a three-pointer to open the 4th quarter scoring as Rain or Shine's lead ballooned to double figures at 87-75 as Raymond Almazan followed with another putback to increase the lead to 14, just 2 minutes into the quarter. A Gabe Norwood trey increased the lead to 15 but Kelly Williams answered back with an inside shot for TNT. The KaTropa continued to clank on their trey during the early minutes of the 4th as Pogoy fouled out with 7:43 to play. At this time, the Elasto Painters were already leading by 18 points after Almazan scored on a pair of charities. A driving lay-up by Maverick Ahanmisi put his team up 20 points with 6:27 to go as Coach Nash Racela called for another time because his team was struggling, both offensively and defensively.
A 9-0 scoring run by TNT cut down the lead to 102-91 with under 4 minutes to play. Troy Rosario added another pair of free throws to cut the lead to 9. The lead was later pushed down to 7 off Glen Rice Jr's basket. Jericho Cruz finally ended the scoring drought for the Elasto Painters to bring the lead back to 9 approaching the final 2-minute mark. Knowing that his team needed a basket, Jayson Castro scored on another trey to cut the lead down to 6 with 1:17 on the clock to work with.
Glen Rice Jr. later attacked the basket, fished on a foul from a defender, and calmly drained both charities to put the lead back to 4 with under a minute left. After a series of bad passes by both teams which ended with the ball in Norwood's hands, Ahanmisi drained 1 of 2 free throws to increase their lead to 5 anew with 33 seconds to play. Rice Jr.'s dunk's cut down the lead as the Elasto Painters just made 1 of the free throws on the next possession, keeping the door open for TNT with 12 seconds to go. TNT missed the next two three-pointers as time ran out for them.
J'Nathan Bullock led the way for the Elasto Painters with 31 points to go along with his 15 rebounds. Bullock scored on 7 out of 12 three-point shots. Gabe Norwood added 15 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 assists. Almazan finished the game with 13 points while Ahanmisi added 10 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists. What won the game for the Elasto Painters was their three-point shooting as well as their bench scoring which saw the bench players of Rain or Shine outscored their TNT counterparts, 29-9.
For the KaTropa, Kelly Williams had 23 points and 10 rebounds while Jayson Castro added 22 points. Import Glen Rice Jr. had to settle for 19 points on a miserable 8 of 28 field goal shooting and this was actually one of the reasons why TNT fell behind in the first place. Anthony Semerad had 19 points too and was followed by Troy Rosario who 10 points and 16 rebounds.
Rain or Shine - 106
Bullock 31, Norwood 15, Almazan 13, Ahanmisi 10, Tiu 10, Trollano 10, Cruz 8, Belga 5, Borboran 2, Daquioag 2, Maiquez 0, Ponferada 0, Yap 0, Robles 0, Matias 0, King 0
TNT - 102
Williams 23, Castro 22, Semerad 19, Rice Jr. 19, Rosario 10, Pogoy 7, Siegel 2, Golla 0, Carey 0, Nuyles 0, Tautuaa 0, Hernandez 0, Reyes 0, Lingganay 0, Chua 0
26-28, 52-47, 84-75, 106-102