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MENAFN - Arab News - 08/02/2014
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(MENAFN -Arab News) Even with its greatest motivator watching the game at home, Rain or Shine played with all-out effort and let it all hang out on the floor on Friday night to punch the first ticket to the PBA Philippine Cup Finals.And the Elasto Painters did it by bundling out powerhouse Petron Blaze, which looked so invincible for most part of the elimination round that the Boosters were considered shoo-in finalists.Beau Belga typified Rain or Shine’s gritty stand, leading the Painters to a 97-88 Game 5 decision of the Boosters to book a return trip to the best-of-seven title series of the season-opening tournament after a 4-1 series win at the Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.After shooting five crucial points in the fourth quarter to cap a team-high 18, Belga then dedicated the win to coach Yeng Guiao, who served out a one-game suspension for conduct unbecoming and watched everything from the family residence in Clark, Pampanga.“Naglaro kami ng ganyan para sayo, coach, kasi mahal ka namin (We played that hard for you, coach, because we love you),” Belga said in national television seconds after the win.Rain or Shine has won 12 of its last 13 games, the only loss coming at the hands of the Boosters, 73-106, in Game 3 of this Final Four. The Painters closed out the elimination round with seven straight wins.The Painters will also have a lot of days to rest since the other Final Four pitting Barangay Ginebra against San Mig Coffee is still tied at 2-2, with both to break the deadlock Saturday.Ginebra will come into its Game 5 against the Mixers fresh from an 8883 victory last Sunday. But no team has yet to win back-to-back games in this series with San Mig taking Games 1 and 3.Petron was in the driver’s seat for all of the first half, leading by as large as 11 several times before closing out the second quarter ahead by seven.But Rain or Shine started putting it together in the third after being reminded of its flaws inside the dugout by a phone call by Guiao to assistant coach Caloy Garcia.The Painters finished the third quarter strong and went ahead, 72-69 entering the fourth and trailed last at 80-79 with 6:12 to go after a June Mar Fajardo jumper.Rain or Shine then dropped a 10-0 bomb touched off by a Gabe Norwood three-point play off Marcio Lassiter before Belga capped it with a three-point play of his own off Chris Lutz for 89-80 going into the last 2:34.The next Petron basket came at the 2:23 mark courtesy of an Arwind Santos layup before Norwood and Paul Lee sandwiched a free throw by Fajardo to restore another 10-point lead, 93-83, just 1:42 left.Rain or Shine was swept in four games here last season by Talk ‘N Text.Jeff Chan finished with 17 points and had nine rebounds like Belga with Lee shooting 16 despite a sore right ankle that kept him out of the second half of a Game 4 win.Chan was also on the short end of another rough play with 3:27 to go, when Chris Ross gave him a hard foul and pulled him down against the goal post that almost turned ugly had it not been for the intervention of game officials.Santos led the Boosters with 20 points, Lassiter contributed 18 and Fajardo 16 in 40 minutes.


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