Glen Rice Jr Saves the day as TNT Avoids Upset, Books Semifinal Slot Against Ginebra

Ugly win against gusty Elasto Painters did the job

Glen Rice Jr. scored 34 points to lead TNT. (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

Talk N Text had the chance to make this match-up wrapped in one game. They failed. They came short. Now, both the KaTropa and the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters will have to battle it out for the final time to know who between the two teams will earn the honor of meeting the already-waiting Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings in the semifinals.
Both teams struggled to hold onto the lead, especially in the second half. Both teams didn’t shoot better than 50% in the field in the endgame. But against all odds, the Talk N Text KaTropa prevented an upset by eliminating the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters on a 118-114 victory that booked the KaTropa a slot in the semifinals for a chance to dethrone the defending champions, the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings.
As everyone was expecting them to do, the Talk N Text KaTropa came out firing early in the first quarter as they made 6 of their first 7 attempts to hold an 8-point lead but the Elasto Painters’ offense finally started to click in and bridged the gap at 21-18 on Mark Borboran’s 3-point play. Right after TNT increased their edge back 8, Chris Tiu later brought it down to two on his 3-point shot with 1:19 to play in the first. Mark Borboran ended the opening chapter with a three-pointer to beat the buzzer to tie the score at 27 all. Borboran already 9 points to lead all scorers while TNT’s import, Glen Rice Jr. 8 points during the first 12 minutes. of play.
If TNT was firing on all cylinders in the first quarter, the beginning of the second was a little different as the defense of Rain or Shine forced the KaTropa to turn the ball over multiple times or take highly-contested shots that missed the basket. Later, J’Nathan Bullock drained a jumper to make 42-35 in favor of the Elasto Painters, their biggest lead in the first half. 
The Blur, Jayson Castro nailed a 3-pointer in the ensuing possessions to bring his team within 1, at 43-42 and then added a pair of free throws to give TNT a one-point lead with under 5 minutes before the break. The lead switched hands multiple times as both teams struggled to mount scoring runs as both teams every made basket with another basket and, every missed shot with another missed shot. As a result, both teams headed into the break with the score tied at 59 apiece after Jericho Cruz made a buzzer-beating jumper for the Elasto Painters.
Both teams were shooting relatively good percentages with TNT making 45% of their attempts in the first half while Rain or Shine converted 51% of their own. Glen Rice Jr. led the KaTropa with 18 points while Jayson Castro added 16 points which include 8 free throws and two from beyond the arc. Bullock on the other hand, scored 15 first-half points while Beau Belga added 12. 
What was the difference that worked for TNT? Free throw shooting. As a team, TNT attempted 25 free throws in the first half alone, making 20 of them. In contrast, Rain or Shine only made 7 of their 9 attempts from the free throw line.
It took almost two minutes into the 3rd quarter before either team scored, a spell that was by broken by Glen Rice Jr. a lay-up and J’Nathan Bullock on a pair of charities at the other end. After Bullock nailed a long one off a lucky bounce, Anthony Semerad answered a three-pointer of his own to increase TNT’s advantage to 5 which was later trimmed down to 1 anew off a Mark Borboran lay-up with 5:06 to go, forcing TNT Coach Nash Racela to call for a timeout.  The rest of the 3rd quarter became a free throw shooting contest as both teams struggled to make any notable run. The Elasto Painters had an 86-85 lead entering the final quarter
Chris Tiu and Gabe Norwood drained a three-pointer each to open the fourth quarter to give Rain or Shine, a  7-point lead, prompting TNT to call for another with barely 2 minutes into the quarter. A pair of threes from Ryan Reyes and Anthony Semerad enabled the KaTropa to grab the lead at 102-100 with under 6 minutes to work with.

From that point on, the match became a shootout as Jericho Cruz added another trey for Rain or Shine to tie the score at 105 apiece with less than 4 minutes to play. The Elasto Painter later regained the lead after a  Norwood trey but TNT went on a 5-0 scoring run that made it 112-108, in favor of the KaTropa approaching the final two-minute mark.

Then, Beau Belga and Jericho Cruz combined for Rain or Shine next 4 points to tie the score, again, at 112 all. Two free throws from Bullock gave Rain or Shine the edge, at 114-112 with 46 seconds to go. 3 seconds later, Castro drew J’Nathan Bullock’s 5th foul and drained the ensuing free throws. After the Elasto Painter failed to score on their next possession, Glen Rice Jr. tipped back Castro’s air-balled trey which gave KaTropa the lead, at 116-114 with 10 ticks to play. A bad pass by Bullock enabled TNT to dribble away the clock as Ryan Reyes made two more charities to end the game.
Glen Rice Jr. came out of his shooting slump to finish with 34 points, 16 rebounds and 9 assists. Jayson Castro, despite making 3 of his 11 field goal attempts, finished with 20 points, built on 12 free throws. He also dished away 12 assists in the game. Troy Rosario and Roger Pogoy added 18 and 16 respectively while Kelly Williams scored 10 points. Points off turnovers were one of the reasons why the KaTropa prevented Rain or Shine from running away especially in the 4th quarter. In addition to this, TNT held a 38-32 advantage in points in the paint.
Rain or Shine on the other hand, was led by Bullock’s 30 points. Beau Belga scored 18 to lead the bench players of the Elasto Painters who, for the second straight game, outscored the bench players of TNT, 54-20. Gabe Norwood finished with 14 while Jericho Cruz added 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Scores:
TNT – 118
Rice Jr. 34,  Castro 20, Rosario 18, Pogoy 16, Willams 10, Semerad 8, Reyes 5, Carey 4, Tautuaa 3, Golla 0, Nuyles 0, Hernandez 0, Lingganay 0, Seigle 0, Chua 0
Rain or Shine – 114
Bullock 30, Belga 18, Borboran 15, Norwood 14, Cruz 11, Tiu 10, Ahanmisi 7, Trollano 5, Almazan 4, Maiquez 0, Ponferada 0, Yap 0, Robles 0, Matias 0, King 0, Daquioag 0
Quarter scoring:
27-27, 59-59, 85-86, 118-114

ROS Survives Furious TNT Run in 4th

Rain or Shine forces a do or die game after diffusing TNT

Gabe Norwood scored 15 points to extend the season for ROS (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

This game featured two different teams with identical situations coming into the game. Both teams are still in working progress as they’ve undergone coaching changes. Both teams also traded some of their longtime players so they’re building new chemistry amongst themselves. The only difference is that in this quarterfinal series, one team has to win twice before moving on into the semifinals and that team is the Rain or Shine Elato Painters. Sure, beating the Talk N Text KaTropa on two consecutive occasions may be a big challenge but it’s not impossible, right?
Just when everyone thought that there would be another come-from-behind win again, nope. Not this time. The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters survived despite being held scoreless for almost 4 minutes in the 4th quarter as they beat the TNT KaTropa, 106-102.
The game between the KaTropa and the Elasto Painters began with both engaging in an exchange of scored baskets especially those that are off forced turnovers. Both teams were able to run the open floor and score on multiple attempts from the three-point line as the first quarter ended with TNT up by 2, at 28-26. When the 2nd quarter began, it became a battle of forced turnovers as TNT was able to take advantage the Elasto Painters’ mistakes by scoring on the other end. Then, TNT on a scoring run to increase their lead to 8 only for Rain or Shine to climb right back at as they tied the game with under 4 minutes to go in the quarter. The Elasto Painters took the lead and built an 8-point lead of their own after J’Nathan Bullock nailed a jumper with 1:57 on the clock, forcing Nash Racela to call for a timeout.
Rain or Shine entered the halftime break with a 5-point lead, at 52-47 thanks to Bullock’s 23 points to lead all scorers. The Elasto Painters did everything right in the first half from the field goal shooting at 46% including 40% from beyond the arc, to the making extra passes which results in a 13-8 advantage in the total assists.
For TNT, Anthony Semerad exploded for 11 of 16 first-half points in the first quarter alone to lead the KaTropa. Jayson Castro and Glen Rice Jr. added 9 points apiece. Even though TNT struggled offensively in the first half, they took advantage of the fastbreak points, holding a 6-4 edge in that category. In addition to this, the KaTropa were able to keep the score close for the majority of the first half by scoring more off their own missed opportunities as they also held a 9-2 advantage in terms of second-chance points.
Troy Rosario opened the scoring in the 3rd quarter by making a shot off an offensive rebound only to be answered by Chris Tiu on the other end. Jayson Castro soon scored on a lay-up and Kelly Williams added another field goal to put KaTropa back in the lead at 58-56 with 8:37 to play in the quarter, forcing Coach Caloy Garcia to call a timeout. The Elasto Painters scored on back-to-back three-pointers made by Chris Tiu and Gabe Norwood to give them the lead. Another trey by Beau Belga pushed the lead to 6 with 6 minutes to spare. Then, Kelly Williams scored on an alley-oop dunk off a lob from Castro to cut the lead down to 1 in the next few possessions.
Glen Rice Jr. later dunked on THREE defenders and Roger Pogoy added another lay-up to put TNT back in the lead and was followed by an acrobatic lay-up by Kelly Williams. with under 4 to play. After a couple of missed shots by the KaTropa, the Elasto Painters took back the lead on another pair of three-pointers by Gabe Norwood and J’Nathan Bullock. Kelly Williams added another dunk plus a free throw but Rain or Shine scored as they took an 84-75 lead heading into the 4th quarter.
Don Trollano scored on a three-pointer to open the 4th quarter scoring as Rain or Shine’s lead ballooned to double figures at 87-75 as Raymond Almazan followed with another putback to increase the lead to 14, just 2 minutes into the quarter. A Gabe Norwood trey increased the lead to 15 but Kelly Williams answered back with an inside shot for TNT.  The KaTropa continued to clank on their trey during the early minutes of the 4th as Pogoy fouled out with 7:43 to play. At this time, the Elasto Painters were already leading by 18 points after Almazan scored on a pair of charities. A driving lay-up by Maverick Ahanmisi put his team up 20 points with 6:27 to go as Coach Nash Racela called for another time because his team was struggling, both offensively and defensively.
A 9-0 scoring run by TNT cut down the lead to 102-91 with under 4 minutes to play. Troy Rosario added another pair of free throws to cut the lead to 9. The lead was later pushed down to 7 off Glen Rice Jr’s basket. Jericho Cruz finally ended the scoring drought for the Elasto Painters to bring the lead back to 9 approaching the final 2-minute mark. Knowing that his team needed a basket, Jayson Castro scored on another trey to cut the lead down to 6 with 1:17 on the clock to work with.
Glen Rice Jr. later attacked the basket, fished on a foul from a defender, and calmly drained both charities to put the lead back to 4 with under a minute left. After a series of bad passes by both teams which ended with the ball in Norwood’s hands, Ahanmisi drained 1 of 2 free throws to increase their lead to 5 anew with 33 seconds to play. Rice Jr.’s dunk’s cut down the lead as the Elasto Painters just made 1 of the free throws on the next possession, keeping the door open for TNT with 12 seconds to go. TNT missed the next two three-pointers as time ran out for them.
J’Nathan Bullock led the way for the Elasto Painters with 31 points to go along with his 15 rebounds. Bullock scored on 7 out of 12 three-point shots. Gabe Norwood added 15 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 assists. Almazan finished the game with 13 points while Ahanmisi added 10 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists. What won the game for the Elasto Painters was their three-point shooting as well as their bench scoring which saw the bench players of Rain or Shine outscored their TNT counterparts, 29-9.
For the KaTropa, Kelly Williams had 23 points and 10 rebounds while Jayson Castro added 22 points. Import Glen Rice Jr. had to settle for 19 points on a miserable 8 of 28 field goal shooting and this was actually one of the reasons why TNT fell behind in the first place. Anthony Semerad had 19 points too and was followed by Troy Rosario who 10 points and 16 rebounds.

Scores:

Rain or Shine – 106
Bullock 31, Norwood 15, Almazan 13, Ahanmisi 10, Tiu 10, Trollano 10, Cruz 8, Belga 5, Borboran 2, Daquioag 2, Maiquez 0, Ponferada 0, Yap 0, Robles 0, Matias 0, King 0

TNT – 102
Williams 23, Castro 22, Semerad 19, Rice Jr. 19, Rosario 10, Pogoy 7, Siegel 2, Golla 0, Carey 0, Nuyles 0, Tautuaa 0, Hernandez 0, Reyes 0, Lingganay 0, Chua 0

Quarter scoring:

26-28, 52-47, 84-75, 106-102

Rain or Shine Dismantles Abueva-less Aces

Bounces back from a Sorry Loss to Ginebra

Gabe Norwood and Chris Tiu had 8 rebounds each in the win (Photo by PBA Media Bureau)
Coming off a defeat, the Rain or Shine knew exactly what they needed to do for them to avoid facing complication come playoff time and they did it right and they did it now. The Elasto Painters immediately returned to their winning form after dominating the Alaska Aces who was missing the services of Calvin Abueva, 112-82 at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo City.
Knowing that the importance of this game with regards to their playoffs positioning, the Elasto Painters went back to work after wasting an opportunity against the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings. They continuously frustrated the offense of the Aces, a team who were hoping to finish an unforgettable conference on a high note. Rain or Shine, despite the struggles of import, J’Nathan Bullock during the early stages of the game, managed to hold a double-digit lead during the first half alone.
To give credit to the players of Alex Compton, the Aces were able to keep within striking distance during the first quarter and they even managed to take the lead before the Elasto Painters strengthened their defense and the Aces started to miss shots that they normally make. And true to form, the Elasto Painters’ defense limited the Aces to make only 36% of their shots in the first half alone while they made the most of their opportunity, shooting 46% in the field. Even as the Aces sliced up the lead to 16 points during the early stages of the 3rd quarter, Raymund Amazan, Jericho Cruz and the rest of the Elasto Painters continued to pound on the points to bring the lead up to 24 again with 6:43 left in the 3rd. That lead eventually ballooned to 31 points heading into the 4th quarter.
To sum it up, Rain or Shine did everything that Coach Caloy Garcia wanted them to do. In fact, Bullock didn’t have to produce big numbers in this particular game. Beau Belga for one, scored points off thebench. Chris Tiu played one of his best games this conference to finish with 9 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists. For the Aces on the other hand, the absence of Abueva was proven to be too much to handle as LaDontae Henton led all scorers with 20 points on 8 of 17 shooting night including 1 out of 5 from the three-point line. Only Henton and Tony dela Cruz scored in double figures as the latter finished with 12 points. Bullock, for his part, led Rain or Shine with 14 points and 4 rebounds but had some reinforcements this time around.

Scores:

Rain or Shine
Bullock 14, Cruz 12, Belga 12, Trollano 11, Tiu 9, Robles 9, Borboran 9, Almazan 7, Yap 6, Ahanmisi 5, Matias 4, King 4, Daquioag 4, Norwood 3, Maiquez 3, Ponferada 0

Alaska
Henton 20, dela Cruz 12, Encisco 9, Manuel 9, Pascual 8, Casio 5, Exciminiano 5, Baclao 4, Galinguez 3, Cruz 3, Mendoza 2, Hontiveros 2, Abuev 0, Banchero 0, Thoss 0, Racal 0

Quarter scoring:

29-23, 63-41, 92-61, 112-82