2014 PBA Commissioner’s Cup: Chan leads ROS back to the win column, while the Express survive Ginebra!

Jeff Chan regained his shooting form to halt the Painters’ losing spell, while the Express had enough of a cushion to hold off Ginebra.

In the opener, Rain or Shine relied on a strong finishing kick to repulse Meralco, 96-79.

Looks like Jeff Chan’s scoring slump is over. The Gilas Pilipinas gunner shot 6/14 from the field and made all 8 of his free throws en route to scoring a total of 21 points on top of 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal. This is a great sign both for the Painters and for Chan, who failed to reach double-digits in his last two outings. If his shooting from this game holds form in their next few assignments, then Chan might be able to lead ROS back up in the standings.

Perhaps the worst thing that happened to the Bolts here wasn’t really the loss, but losing Brian Butch as the import was seen vomiting on the sidelines a couple of times. He also didn’t play his usual game, scoring just 11 points on 4/14 FG shooting. Rumors have swirled about Meralco possibly replacing Butch anyway, but nobody wants to see any player go out this way.

Last Hurrah?: As Wayne Chism flies here to Manila, it’s all but certain that current ROS import Alex McLean is already on his way out. He did lead his team here with 23 points and 16 rebounds, but, by and large, McLean’s body of work has been hardly impressive. In five games for the Painters, he normed 22.8ppg and 15.4rpg while shooting just 41.8% from the floor. He takes too many threes and just doesn’t do much else. And, of course, ROS went 2-3 with him as the import.

Alex McLean looks to be on his way out, while Wesley Witherspoon
is just starting to make his presence felt.
(composite image by Enzo Flojo/Hoop Nut)

In the main game, Air 21 survived Ginebra, 97-95. Once again, Air 21 let its foes back in the game, but this time around, they were able to survive. The Express led by 10 points to start the final canto before the Gin Kings rallied and last threatened at 96-95 with less than 19 ticks to go. Some lucky breaks and spotty decision-making from the Ginebra side, however, enabled the Express to escape with their third W in six tries. Import Wesley Witherspoon once again showed his scoring prowess, nailing 5 triples and dropping 25 markers in all. He also collared 10 rebounds, handed out 2 assists, and stole the ball thrice. He was backstopped by five other Air 21 players who scored 9 or more points.

The backcourt duo of LA Tenorio and Mark Caguioa just didn’t click here. Tenorio shot 3/8 from the field to score just 9 points while Caguioa tossed in just 2 markers in a combined 46 minutes. They just weren’t effective at all.

What’s your answer to this question: Who, REALLY, is Ginebra’s coach? Who calls the shots? Who diagrams the plays? Who decides to sit the import for all but the final play of the payoff period? Juno? Ato? The guy with silky, long, black hair? Your guess is as good as mine.

Game Recap:


The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters held on for an 96-79 victory over the Meralco Bolts on Wednesday to snap their two-game losing streak in the PLDT Home TVolution Commissioner’s Cup.

“The days we play defense, we win games,” said Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao, whose team improved their win-loss record to 2-3.

“We still consider ourselves in a hole and in a struggle. We need to win a couple of games to get us out of the hole. Temporary relief right now.”

Gunner Jeff Chan broke out of his two-game slump to score 21 points to lead the Elasto Painters, who held off another fourth-quarter charge from the Bolts before securing the victory.

Rain or Shine, the runners-up of last month’s Philippine Cup finals, raced to a fast start, taking a 44-33 lead at halftime.

The Elasto Painters were still ahead, 75-62, early in the fourth quarter when Meralco made its move. The Bolts, who rallied from a 20-point deficit against the to win against the Air 21 Express last Sunday, went on a 13-4 run to cut Rain or Shine’s lead to just four point, 79-75.

But Meralco was undone by an illness to import Brian Butch, who couldn’t stay on the court down the stretch and instead throwing up on the Bolts bench.

Rain or Shine took full advantage, scoring the last 13 points of the game to put Meralco away.

It was a victorious effort in what is expected to be a farewell for Rain or Shine import Alex McLean, whose replacement Wayne Chism is already en route to the Philippines.

“We will talk about McLean’s status tomorrow, we have our options open. Our next game is on Monday, we need to decide tomorrow in practice, probably by lunchtime,” said Guiao.

ROS 96 – McLean 23, Chan 21, Lee 16, Norwood 13, Belga 7, Cruz 6, Arana 2, Almazan 2, Tiu 2, Ibanes 2, Rodriguez 2, Tang 0, Nuyles 0, Teng 0.
MER 79 – David 20, Dillinger 14, Hodge 12, Butch 11, Hugnatan 7, Artadi 4, Ildefonso 2, Sena 2, Guevarra 2, Wilson 2, Mandani 2, Al-Hussaini 1, Caram 0, Salvacion 0.
QS: 23-17, 44-33, 72-60, 96-79

Jeff Chan broke his shooting slump by
unloading 21 points on the Bolts.

Alex McLean drives strong against Cliff Hodge in what might
as well be his last game in the PBA.

Erika Padilla is the picture of summer in this
floral ensemble. Wait, what?!

Gary David launches from long range as the
Bolts drop to 3-3.

AIR 21 over GINEBRA, 97-95

This time, there would be no collapse for the Air 21 Express.

After squandering a 20-point lead before losing to Meralco last Sunday, the Express held off a furious fourth quarter charge from Barangay Ginebra San Miguel to fashion out a thrilling 97-95 victory on Wednesday at SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

“We survived the run,” said Air 21 coach Franz Pumaren. “It’s a good thing we were able to regroup when they made the run. I hope this is a good tipoff point in the next game.

“This is a testament to us. We were able to bounce back. This is a learning experience for us.”

Air 21 flirted with disaster again after the Gin Kings, who benched import Leon Rodgers for most of the fourth quarter, whittled down a 10-point lead in the period to a single point in the dying seconds.

The Express came into fourth quarter with an 80-70 edge. But Ginebra unleashed a 10-2 run to cut the lead down to just two, 82-80.

Air 21 got its bearings back, refusing to give up the driver’s seat before pushing their lead back up to six points, 96-90, with two minutes to play.

Jayjay Helterbrand buried a crucial three-pointer as Ginebra came within a single possession, 96-93, with 1:08 left.

Ginebra made a couple of big defensive stops before Billy Mamaril put Ginebra within a point, 96-95, with 18.7 seconds remaining.

The Gin Kings sent Joseph Yeo to the line, and the former La Salle guard muffed both charities. But Japeth Aguilar failed to control the ball, giving the Express back the possession.

Ginebra was forced to foul import Wesley Witherspoon with 4.8 seconds left, but he could only manage a split for a 97-95 lead for Air 21.

With one final shot, Ginebra reinserted an ice-cold Rodgers into the lineup. But his shot failed to find target, allowing the Express to escape.

“He sat out the whole fourth quarter, it’s strange, but I give credit to my players for doing a good job and to my coaching staff who did a good scouting report on Rodgers,” said Pumaren.

Air 21 improved its record to 3-3, while Ginebra suffered its second straight defeat to fall to 2-4.

AIR 97 – Witherspoon 25, Yeo 18, Cardona 15, Borboran 10, Ramos 10, Taulava 9, Villanueva 6, Burtscher 2, Atkins 2, Camson 0.
GIN 95 – Rodgers 18, Aguilar 15, Slaughter 12, Ellis 10, Helterbrand 10, Tenorio 9, Baracael 6, Reyes 6, Mamaril 4, Urbiztondo 3, Caguioa 2.
QS: 27-25, 57-48, 80-70, 97-95

I spy not one, not two, but three possible coaches for the
Bgy. Ginebra Gin Kings. So, sino ba talaga?!

Joseph Yeo evades the defense with this nifty underhand shot.

Wesley Witherspoon goes up strong against the Kings.

Recaps by Rey Joble/InterAKTV.

Images by Paolo Papa and Paul Ryan Tan/Sports 5.

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