2013-2014 PBA Philippine Cup Roundup: January 29-31, 2014

The 2013-2014 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals continued to roll these past few days, with Rain or Shine rallying in the payoff period to upend Petron and gain a 2-0 edge in their series. In the other best-of-7 affair, Ginebra solved the SMC puzzle with some good old 2-3 zone defense to take Game 2 in convincing fashion and tie their series count at 1-all.

This past Thursday, Rain or Shine overcame Petron Blaze, 103-94. ROS actually seemed flustered for much of the match before uncorking a decisive 23-6 run in the payoff period to upend the Petron Blaze Boosters and gain a significant 2-0 edge in their best-of-7 series. Gilas sniper Jeff Chan sparked that big rally with two triples, and fellow Gilas stalwart ended it with two free throws as ROS commandeered the lead, 95-91, and maintained it till the end. Five guys scored in double-digits for the Painters, with Chan’s 20 points and 5 triples leading the way.

Jeff Chan waxed hot in the second half to spark the Painters'
decisive endgame rally.

June Mar Fajardo did well offensively against the smaller ROS frontcourt, but he was visibly bothered by the Painters’ physical play. The Kracken shot 7/10 from the field, but this was balanced out by his 6 turnovers, 4 missed free throws, and a costly technical foul in the fourth quarter. The Boosters did a really good job of establishing Fajardo in the paint, often finding him in his sweet spots close to the rim, but they just couldn’t maintain the pressure for the entire 48 minutes. Petron left the door open for Rain or Shine, and the latter just took advantage.

Third pick overall Raymond Almazan showed everyone why he was a highly-coveted player out of Letran College. The 6’7 beanpole played just 18 minutes, but he recorded 15 points and 5 rebounds, shooting a perfect 6/6 from the floor. He even hit one three!!! Almazan provided a HUGE lift off the pine for coach Yeng Guiao, helping defend Fajardo and rocking the ring with some slamma jammas a couple of times. If he can be consistent with this kind of performance, then it will surely tilt the chances in ROS’s favor even more.

In last night’s match, Ginebra blew out San Mig Super Coffee, 93-64. How about some awesome defense from the top-seeded Kings against the number one defensive team in the entire league? Ginebra held the Mixers to a tie for their season-low in points (SMC also scored 64 in a December 11 loss to Meralco), and their worst losing margin so far in the conference. The Kings utilized a suffocating 2-3 zone to limit the Mixers to under 34% FG shooting. Starters PJ Simon, James Yap, Mark Barroca, and Joe Devance combined to shoot 16/45 from the floor.

Aside from shooting terribly, coach Tim Cone’s wards also lost the battle on the boards — and badly, too! Ginebra utilized its size advantage to the hilt, outrebounding SMC, 55-32. Nobody on the San Mig quintet grabbed more than 5 rebounds, and that was James Yap! Usual reliables Marc Pingris, Yancy De Ocampo, Rafi Reavis, and Joe Devance totaled only 11 rebounds. That’s four guys standing 6’5 or taller being outrebounded by rookie Greg Slaughter, who collared 12 boards.

Speaking of Greg, the top overall pick in the 2013 PBA Draft had one of his best outings of the season so far, dropping 21 points on 8/11 FG shooting on top of the aforementioned dozen caroms, 1 assist, and 1 block. He scored 15 markers in the first half alone, helping Ginebra to a commanding 16-point bulge at the break. Needless to say, the Mixers could never recover from that. Slaughter’s awesome play made up for the subpar production of frontline partner Japeth Aguilar, whose 7-point, 4-rebound line was his worst since recording just 6 points and 5 rebounds against TNT last January 19, 2014.

Game Recaps:
The Petron Blaze Boosters tried to play the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters’ run-and-gun game and for three quarters, it worked.

In the end, however, the Elasto Painters’ superior depth won out for a 103-94 victory on Wednesday at Mall of Asia Arena.

“We just carved up a hard win today,” said Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao. “For a while, I thought it was a lost game, but the guys did not give up.”

The win gave Rain or Shine a commanding 2-0 lead in their PLDT Home DSL Philippine Cup semifinals.

The Elasto Painters bucked a strong start from Petron, which led by as much as 16 points, 34-18, in the first half. Rain or Shine fought back to close the first half within striking distance, 49-46.

But Petron took control once again in the third period. Alex Cabagnot led the charge, scoring eight points in a 14-4 run for a 63-50 spread.

The Boosters were still ahead, 85-72, before Jeff Chan nailed back-to-back three-pointers to cut the deficit. That touched off a furious 23-6 run capped by free throws from Gabe Norwood to give Rain or Shine a 95-91 edge with just 3:05 left.

Petron completely fell apart in the endgame as the Elasto Painters hit basket after timely basket, before rookie Raymond Almazan capped the win with a breakaway dunk in the dying seconds.

Chan led Rain or Shine with 20 points while Almazan and Paul Lee chipped in 15 apiece.

June Mar Fajardo had 20 points, but was visibly frustrated by the Rain or Shine defense, even getting a technical foul in the fourth quarter.

“They were trying to play physical, and June Mar really is the focal point of their offense, and we have to play physical ourselves,” said Guiao, who noted that the Elasato Painters got the raw end of the officiating.

“We didn’t get the refs’ calls. For the most part, I felt that Petron escaped with a lot of physical contact.”

Guiao warned his team against getting overconfident against a Petron side that remains dangerous.

“2-0 is a good place to be at this point, but we can’t celebrate. We need two more,” said Guiao.

ROS 103 – Chan 20, Almazan 15, Lee 15, Belga 11, Norwood 11, Arana 8, Tang 5, Quinahan 4, Cruz 4, Nuyles 4, Rodriguez 4, Teng 2, Tiu 0, Ibanes 0.
PET 94 – Fajardo 20, Cabagnot 17, Lassiter 14, Santos 12, Lutz 7, Kramer 6, Hubalde 6, Ross 6, Tubid 4, Taha 2.
QS: 18-32, 46-49, 67-78, 103-94

Alex Cabagnot lets Gabe Norwood go past him with this fly-by.

Gilas teammates Beau Belga and June Mar Fajardo engage
in this heated moment from Game 2.

Barangay Ginebra San Miguel used a suffocating zone defense to cruise to a surprisingly easy 93-64 victory over the San Mig Super Coffee Mixers on Friday at SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

The Gin Kings pounced on a lackluster effort by the Mixers to tie their Manila Clasico semifinals series in the PLDT Home DSL Philippine Cup at 1-all.

“Adjustment namin defense namin, start namin maganda,” said Ginebra coach Ato Agustin. “We were able to limit their offense (to just) 60-plus.”

Greg Slaughter dominated with 15 of his 21 points in the first half. But it was on the defensive end where Ginebra made hay, springing a 2-3 zone that shackled the San Mig Coffee offense for a 48-32 lead at the half.

Instead of letting up, Ginebra opened the third quarter on fire, scoring the first five points of the second half to open up a 21-point edge. The Gin Kings fended off numerous fightback attempts by San Mig Coffee, led by stars James Yap, Peter June Simon, and Marc Pingris.

The Mixers couldn’t sustain the run with their second unit, allowing the Gin Kings to take a 69-53 lead heading into the fourth period. Ginebra put the final nail on the coffin with an 8-0 run, and nursed the lead the rest of the way.

Slaughter finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds. Jayjay Helterbrand and Billy Mamaril provided offensive boosts off the bench for the Gin Kings, chipping in 11 and 10 points, respectively.

LA Tenorio added 10 points and eight assists for Ginebra, winning his matchup with San Mig Coffee point guard Mark Barroca, who struggled for the second straight game with just seven points on 1-of-6 shooting from the field.

Simon led the Mixers with 16 points, Pingris added 15, while Yap finished with 14.

Game Three is set on Sunday at Mall of Asia Arena at 5 p.m. Agustin said he expects San Mig Coffee counterpart Tim Cone to go back to the drawing board.

“San Mig will adjust sa zone defense namin. Kelangan ma-anticipate namin yung gagawin nila,” said Agustin.

GIN 93 – Slaughter 21, Helterbrand 11, Tenorio 10, Mamaril 10, Reyes 8, Caguioa 8, Aguilar 7, Monfort 5, Ellis 4, Faundo 4, Baracael 3, Forrester 2, Ababou 0.
SMC 64 – Simon 16, Pingris 15, Yap 14, Barroca 7, De Ocampo 3, Acuna 3, Mallari 3, Devance 2, Cawaling 1, Gaco 0, Sangalang 0, Melton 0, Holstein 0, Reavis 0.
QS: 24-19, 48-32, 69-53, 93-64
More than 19,000 fans trooped to the Big Dome to witness
the Kings' blowout win over the Mixers.

Pint-sized Emman Monfort was a huge spark for Ginebra.

Greg Slaughter was unstoppable in Game 2.

Isaac Holstein gets some burn in the second half after the Kings
established an insurmountable lead.

Source: Unless otherwise specified, game recaps were compressed and compiled from InterAKTV. (Writing credit to Rey Joble)

Images: Unless otherwise specified, images are from the PBA and Sports 5. (Photo credit to Paul Ryan Tan and Paolo Papa)

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