Rain or Shine wins Christmas duel vs Alaska
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Members of the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters are going to enjoy their Christmas Day dinner, while the Alaska Aces may have a bitter taste on their tongues on Thursday evening, December 25.
After trailing by 11 points in the third quarter, Rain or Shine rallied in the fourth period to win their Christmas matchup against Alaska at the Mall of Asia Arena, 98-91, and tie their PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series at 2-2.
Game five is on Saturday, December 27, also at the MOA Arena, where a virtual best-of-three between both teams will begin to determine who advances to the conference finals.
Jeff Chan finished with 25 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, on 5/10 shooting from the three-point area to lead ROS, while Gabe Norwood registered 12 points - 7 coming from 3 key jumpers down the stretch that helped his team seal the win.
The win improved Elasto Painters head coach Yeng Guiao's Christmas Day career record to 2-3, with both victories coming while he's coached Rain or Shine.
Chris Tiu came off the bench and scored 10 points in a little under 12 minutes of play, hitting critical shots for the Elasto Painters.
Sonny Thoss entered a groove on offense in the third period with 8 straight points. The high-energy play of back-up rookie PG Chris Banchero helped create a number of stops on defense. The Aces extended their lead to as much as 11, 69-58, following a couple of free throws by Eric Menk.
Consecutive 3-balls from Tiu to end the third period was bridged by a pair of long-range shots by Chan in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter, which helped their squad get within three. A few minutes later, a 3-ball by JR Quinahan and made FT by Chan tied the game at 80.
Thoss finished with 25 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Aces, but his sixth foul on a driving Norwood with 3:51 left him unable to finish the game, and led to a couple of empty offensive possessions for Coach Alex Compton's team.
Following the big man's disqualification, a jumper by Norwood and layup by Beau Belga put ROS up five, but they were quickly countered by a couple of baskets from Calvin Abueva and Eric Menk, 90-89.
Moments after Norwood hit another pull-up jumper, Abueva was assessed with a flagrant two foul for throwing a closed fist punch on Jonathan Uyloan, sending the guard down on the floor. Abueva was ejected.
In the ensuing plays, Uyloan, who appeared fired up after absorbing the punch, split a trip to the line while Norwood hit an open 3-ball from the corner to put the finishing touches on the match, 96-89.
Abueva put up 14 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists while Eric Menk scored 8 points and grabbed 6 rebounds. Both guys came off the bench for the Aces. Cyrus Baguio and Dondon Hontiveros struggled from the field, combining for 9 points on 3-of-18 shooting.
Belga recorded 11 points to go with 3 boards and 3 dimes, while Paul Lee came off the bench to score 8.
RAIN OR SHINE (98) - Chan 25, Norwood 12, Belga 11, Tiu 10, Lee 8, Quinahan 7, Almazan 7, Uyloan 5, Arana 5, Ibanes 4, Tang 2, Cruz 2, Teng 0.
ALASKA (91) - Thoss 25, Abueva 14, Casio 10, Manuel 9, Menk 8, Banchero 6, Baguio 6, Jazul 6, Hontiveros 3, Exciminiano 2, Dela Cruz 2, Eman 0, Dela Rosa 0.
Quarterscores: 20-21, 38-41, 64-71, 98-91
Here are more photos of the game taken by Nuki Sabio/PBA Images
Rain or Shine vs Alaska PBA 2015 semifinals