One down, two more to go for Rain Or Shine

MANILA, Philippines – For majority of Christian Catholic Filipinos, March 31 is marked as Holy Tuesday. But for most Filipino Basketball aficionados, it is also the date where the Commissioner’s Cup Semi Finals started.

Super Subs step-up to help ROS gained 1 win advantage over Bolts
Super Subs step-up to help ROS gained 1 win advantage over Bolts | Credit: Pinoy Exchange

Fresh from their respective and very convincing wins, the league’s top seeded team, Rain Or Shine Elasto Painters and PBA’s Dark Horse – Meralco Bolts lock horns for a best-of-five semis showdown where Coach Yeng Guiao is now one step ahead of his rival, Coach Norman Black for a buena mano 99-86 win on Tuesday, March 31 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City.

Everybody was looking forward to a Gary David - Jeff Chan shootout, two of Philippines’ top gunners, as early as the first quarter. But to the surprise of many, Coach Yeng Guiao started the game with an unusual first five. Instead of Norwood, Chan and Belga, the fiery coach fielded in Jervy Cruz, Jireh Ibanes and Jonathan Uyloan with Paul Lee and Wayne Chism.

The less-utilized starters did not waste the very rare opportunity which Coach Guiao has entrusted to them. Jervy Cruz fired a back-to-back perimeter jumpers while Jonathan Uyloan quickly sank a three to forced Coach Norman Black to call a cease fire and re-assemble his squad. The Bolts obediently responded on their Coach’s call and made an 11-2 run to close the gap with just two shots.

Paul Lee cut Meralco’s scoring momentum by owning the rainbow country along with the entry of Gabe Norwood, Jeff Chan and Raymond Almazan to protect their margin from the game’s underdogs.

Interestingly, the locals of both teams were filling-up the score board while both of their imports were tightly guarding each other and just contributed four points apiece in the second period. Meralco Josh Davis slightly got an advantage over Wayne Chism due to latter’s three personal fouls midway in the second but apparently had an off-night with an unsual 11-point output in four quarters. Reynel Hugnatan sensed Chism was in trouble so he capitalized on it and pounded the Elasto Painters import to the point of sending him sprawling on the floor with a sick up and under move.

Gary “El Granada” David and former three point king Mark Macapagal both launched long bombs to tie the game 49 all at the end of the first 24 minutes of the ball game.

Frustrated due to his very slow start, Wayne Chism opened the third quarter with a pump fake shot plus one and finally got his scoring rhythm and booked 18 total points, 14 boards, 3 blocks and enough for him to be chosen as the Best Player of the game. But Gary David’s hot hands continued after the half time break for a quick equalizer. The third canto remained too close to call but Coach Yeng’s super subs Jeric Teng, Jerico Cruz and Jonathan Uyloan were giving Coach Norman a headache in all sides of the floor.

One of Rain Or Shine’s major advantages over Meralco Bolts is their height. Coach Yeng sent his big boys Raymond Almazan, JR Quinahan and Beau Belga alternating plus their 6’9” reinforcement Wayne Chism for their first ever double digit lead 85-74 with 8 minutes remaining in the final quarter. Meralco big man Reynel Hugnatan had a hard time guarding his counterparts especially in the rebounding department.

Both Coaches had heated arguments with the game officials after Gabe Norwood made a three to beat the shot clock with less than four minutes in the fourth but got voided by the referees after reviewing the incident. Norwood sank another trey but this time made sure that it will count and followed by Paul Lee’s fast break layup to maintain their 10 point, 94-84 lead after the two minute warning. Beau Belga placed the icing on the cake by making two foul shots and his only points after getting hacked by Gary David.

Coach Norman Black vowed to even the series on Easter Sunday, April 5, 2015.

Interesting game fact: All Rain Or Shine players on the Roster scored except for Gilas Pilipinas Shooter Jeff Chan who only played for 5 minutes with 0-1 shooting and probably his career low.


Rain Or Shine – Chism 18, Lee 14, Norwood 9, J. Cruz 9, C. Tiu 9, J. Cruz 9, Almazan 8, Uyloan 6, Teng 6, Arana 3, Belga 2, Quinahan 2, Ibanes 2, Tang 2, Chan 0

Meralco – David 14, Hodge 13, Anthony 13, Davis 11, Cortez 11, Hugnatan 10, Ferriols 6, Wilson 3, Macapagal 3, Caram 2, Reyes 0

- D' Waterboy, TheSummitExpress

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