Powerade added one final chapter to its Cinderella story in the 2011-12 PBA Philippine Cup.
The Tigers, who were characterized by Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao as a three-man team, proved the rival mentor wrong as they used sheer team effort to claim Game Seven, 107-98, Wednesday night at the jampacked Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.
Powerade’s “Big Three” of Gary David, JVee Casio and Marcio Lassiter drew plenty of help from their teammates to continue their magical ride and be the first No. 8 seed in PBA history to enter the finals.
Casio had 25 points, seven rebounds and five assists, David finished with 24 points, and Lassiter added 17 points, seven rebounds and nine assists to power the Tigers to the best-of-seven championship series.
“I don’t think we are any better than Rain or Shine. It’s just that it’s our time to be here,” said Powerade mentor Bo Perasol, who also drew 12 points and 15 rebounds from Doug Kramer.
“I think the key here is getting those people who can really win for us. There’s no magical system. We just have people who are winners in their heart.”
Celino Cruz and William Antonio each had 10 points for the Tigers, while Sean Anthony and Romel Adducul contributed on the defensive end.
The Elasto Painters, meanwhile, need to wait a little longer to make it to the finals for the first time.
Guiao had seven players scoring in double figures, led by JR Quinahan’s 16 points, but their perimeter game clicked too late when Powerade was already in control of the do-or-die game.
The Tigers led by as much as 21 points, 82-61, on Lassiter’s three-pointer. Rain or Shine managed to cut the huge lead to eight points, 98-90, with 4:46 left, but Casio then completed a three-point play and Adducul followed up his own missed shot.
The Elasto Painters cut the lead to seven points, 105-98, but David hit a 17-foot jumper to end all the doubts that Powerade is indeed the team of destiny.
“Masayang-masaya. Second finals ko ito at motivation talaga namin ay gumawa ng history,” said David, whose 24 points were his lowest output in the playoffs, from the start of the Tigers’ quarterfinal series against top seed B-MEG.
The lowest-seeded team to win a PBA title was San Miguel Beer. The No. 6 Beermen defeated Barangay Ginebra in the 2004-05 Fiesta Conference.
Powerade 107 — Casio 25, David 24, Lassiter 17, Kramer 12, Cruz 10, Antonio 10, Anthony 5, adducul 4, Vanlandingham 0, Crisano 0.
Rain or Shine 98 – Quinahan 16, Lee 14, Chan 14, Norwood 13, Buenafe 12, Matias 10, Belga 10, Cruz 6, Rodriguez 2, Arana 1, Uyloan 0, Ibanes 0.
Quarters: 22-18; 52-39; 84-65; 107-98
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