HIGHLIGHTS: Rain Or Shine edges Alaska in Game 6, claims 2016 Commissioner's Cup crown

    MANILA, Philippines – The colourful balloons inside the Smart Araneta Coliseum have finally fallen down as the game clock went zero after six games. The Rain Or Shine Elasto Painters are the 2016 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Champions as they dismantled the Alaska Aces 109 - 92 on Wednesday, May 18.

    Rain or Shine celebrates championship victory.
    Rain or Shine celebrates championship victory. Photo Credit: InterAksyon.com/Ver Marquez
    Before the game started, it was the Aces who had the momentum as they won two straight games against the Elasto Painters. It was almost a dejavu in reverse for Coach Alex Compton as he and his wards were looking to re-create what the San Miguel Beermen had done to them during the All-Filipino Cup: where the Aces were up three series to nothing and then all of a sudden, Coach Leo Austria and his gang got closer to them and totally snatched the trophy out of Alaska’s hands.

    From the very start of the game, the Painters felt that they must not give any chances to the Aces and perform a “Beeracle” on them. The mighty ROS guards, led by Jericho Cruz who was also the Best Player of the Game were the key factors in Game 6 victory. The combination of Cruz, Maverick Ahanmisi, Chris Tiu and Paul Lee became a burden for Coach Compton as he found no answer on the guards’ offensive onslaught.

    Paul Lee, who was missing in action during the previous conferences due to knee injuries, was awarded as the Finals MVP. Lee was also ROS’ hero for games one and three. This championship will also serve as his inspiration to train harder for the Gilas Pilipinas pool who will face FIBA heavyweights France, New Zealand and Canada at the Olympic Qualifiers this coming July here in Manila. Gilas resumed its practice this morning after a month-long break to give way for the PBA playoffs.

    Paul Lee Finals MVP PBA
    “Angas ng Tondo” is finally back on track. Paul Lee wins the Finals MVP Award. Photo Credit: Sports5
    Among all the Rain Or Shine players, their import, Pierre Henderson-Niles is the luckiest. The Hulking-Henderson-Niles is Coach Yeng’s back-up reinforcement and in fact, he was the fourth import to play with the team this conference. Aside from being the latest addition to the Roster, Henderson-Niles is the least scoring among all the imports that Elasto Painters had.

    Tonight was really meant for Rain Or Shine. They were able to push hard from the very start of the game and maintained a comfortable double-digit lead until the end. Everything was going on the Elasto Painters’ way. They’ve been hitting and converting their shots from every angle of the floor. Three pointers became their bread and butter for this game. Jericho Cruz himself had three triples and a total of 21 markers to win the Best Player of the Game award.

    Not only the points favoured ROS, even in rebounding department, whether offensive or defensive, they were getting them all. Truly, the basketball gods were with them.

    In contrast, the Alska Aces really had an off-night. It was just unfortunate for all of them to miss most of their baskets and failed to get majority of the boards. Rob Dozier did everything he could but the locals were not able to give the support that he needed to prolong the series. The fans were really looking for usual gunners Cyrus Baguio, DonDon Hontiveros and RJ Jazul but instead, it was Rookie Kevin Racal who stole the lime light from the misfiring veterans along with Calvin Abueva’s 26 markers. But Racal’s career-high and Abueva’s game-high weren’t enough to assist the Aces in levelling the series.

    The Aces had some chances to catch-up with the Elasto Painters at the final period when Coach Yeng’s boys got into early trouble for committing four team fouls in-a-row with less than a minute gone by. Fil-Italian guard Chris Banchero made an initiative to close the scoring gap by getting tough shots and bonus free throws. But as the Aces got closer, ROS fired back with three pointers and second chances under the rim.

    Another thorn got stuck in Coach Alex Compton’s heart for losing another championship game. This was Compton’s third finals appearance since he accepted the head coaching job. But still, the game against the Beermen last conference is the most painful. He almost really had it but it was not really meant for him.

    Meanwhile, Coach Yeng Guiao cheerfully celebrates his 7th PBA Championship, 2nd with Rain Or Shine. He admitted that he knew from the beginning that they will not be able to sweep Alaska for they are a strong team and a real contender. He thanked Alex Compton on his speech for giving them and the fans a good championship series. Compton, on the other hand, vowed to comeback more prepared and stronger next conference.

    Coach Yeng Guiao celebrates his 7th PBA title
    Lucky 7: Coach Yeng Guiao celebrates his 7th PBA title. Photo Credit: Interaksyon
    Truly, Rain Or Shine deserves the title. They were not the favored team to win the championship when the conference started. They began their campaign unsteady with a depleted line-up and new set of roster. It was just during the playoffs when they improved as a team and with Paul Lee getting back in the line-up plus a perfect-fit new import. From the moment that they foiled San Miguel’s grand slam attempt by eliminating them at the semis, there’s no doubt, they were all out to win.

    Rain or Shine (109): Cruz 21, Lee 20, Almazan 15, Quiñahan 14, Ahanmisi 8, Chan 8, Niles 7, Norwood 7, Belga 4, Tiu 3, Ponferada 2

    Alaska (92): Abueva 26, Racal 15, Jazul 14, Dozier 11, Baguio 9, Banchero 6, Thoss 6, Hontiveros 3, Exciminiano 2, Baclao 0, Dela Rosa 0, Menk 0

    Quarter scores: 38-24; 59-49; 84-69; 109-92

    WATCH: Rain or Shine defeats Alaska to clinch PBA Commissioner's Cup Championship

    --Joey Boy Capos, The Summit Express

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