The 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Semi-Finals got going Friday last week, and the teams that got in were pretty much as expected. While the Alaska Aces drew first blood in the quarterfinals against TNT KaTropa, the fact that the latter was twice-to-beat meant it was a premature hope by their second game. Ginebra as expected swept Magnolia clean. NorthPort despite having twice-to-beat advantage succumbed to the San Miguel Beermen while online in the Blackwater vs. Rain or Shine best-of-3 matchup was there a drawn-out fight. The Elasto Painters would thus face powerhouse San Miguel in the Semis, with the Beermen triumphing Saturday and Monday, but Rain or Shine fought back.
ESPN 5 reports that the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters refused to go gentle against long-established PBA team the San Miguel Beermen in their Commissioner’s Cup Semi-Finals Game 3 on Wednesday, July 31. It is notable because San Miguel’s import Chris McCullough put in his best Semis scoring performance here with 51 points attributed to him alone. And yet when it came down to the wire the Elasto Painters dug in deep and pulled a 112 to 104 victory over the Beermen to keep their 2019 Commissioner’s Cup dream alive.
Rain or Shine’s own import for the Semi-Finals, Carl Montgomery, managed just about half of McCullough’s input with 25 points for his team, though he recorded one rebound more (15) than his San Miguel counterpart. Despite this, the outcome for Game 3 between the Elasto Painters and Beermen remained dicey, and more in favor of San Miguel, right into the last minutes of the final quarter. Then at Q4-1:14 left of game time Gabe Norwood sank a 3-pointer to make Rain or Shine lead at 105-104. Norwood then blocked a crucial McCullough shot in the last 30 seconds, allowing Beau Belga to secure a game-winning lead of 110 to 104.
It might be rather appropriate for a Belga 3-point shot to extend the playing life of the Elasto Painters in the Semi-Finals, considering he might have gotten motivation from Gilas player Andray Blatche. At 3:45 to go during the Fourth Quarter Beau landed a 3 and immediately pointed to Blatche who was sitting courtside. The naturalized national team player apparently dared him to go for more threes, with the lead-ensuring 110-104 being done by Belga in the final 11 seconds, against defender June Mar Fajardo.
The Beermen must be feeling the frustration of seeing their Finals spot denied for a time, especially after they looked set to sweep when they eroded an 18-point Rain or Shine lead to nothing in Q2. San Miguel however still leads 2-1 in this series, which will go to Game 4 on Friday, August 2.
Image courtesy of CNN Philippines