Rain or Shine made an emphatic debut in the PBA finals, beating a tired B-MEG Llamados squad, 91-80, at the start of their Governors’ Cup best-of-seven championship series on Sunday night at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
The Elasto Painters unraveled their highly-physical game and caught the Llamados flatfooted to take the headstart in their race-to-four series.
Jamelle Cornley caught fire in the third quarter, scoring 13 of his game-high 25 points in the period where a four-point Rain or Shine halftime deficit turned into a seven-point Elasto Painters advantage.
“I’m really proud how the boys handled the pressure, the way we played defense in the second half. We lost by 11 rebounds in the first half, but we settled down and the players were able to soak up the atmosphere. From then on, we were OK,” said Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao.
The victory, he said, was huge for the confidence of his players, none of whom have played in a PBA finals match prior to the game.
“I love the way my players handled themselves in the finals,” added Guiao. “Malaking bagay ito sa kumpiyansa namin.”
Cornley’s counterpart, Marqus Blakely, struggled against the defense of the Elasto Painters.
He finished with only 12 points and was held to only seven rebounds as his game was completely out of synch.
Rain or Shine broke away completely in the fourth quarter, leading by as much as 18 points. In frustration, B-MEG coach Tim Cone threw a chair into the court, leading to his ejection.
RAIN OR SHINE 91 – Cornley 25, Lee 14, Norwood 10, Buenafe 10, Belga 8, Ibanes 8, Chan 7, Arana 4, Quinahan 4, Cruz 1.
B-MEG 80 – Yap 19, Blakely 12, Pingris 12, Simon 9, Gaco 8, Barroca 6, Villanueva 5, Reavis 4, Urbiztondo 3, De Ocampo 2.
Quarters: 18-16, 35-39, 66-59, 91-80
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