The Rain or Shine vs San Miguel semi finals result is out and the former took a commanding 2-0 advantage in their best-of five series against the San Miguel Beermen via a pulsating 98-96 victory on Tuesday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Beermen could have stolen the game from the E-Painters had Marcio Lassiter’s bank shot triple counted. However, Lassiter was a split second too late. Upon review by the referees, the ball was still in Lassiter’s hands when the shot clock expired.
The E-Painters had a 93-82 cushion with over four minutes left in the final period, but the Beermen made a spirited comeback via back-to-back triples by Alex Cabagnot and baskets by import Tyler Wilkerson. They closed the gap at 95-93 with 34.1 seconds left.
Arwind Santos was then called for a foul on Paul Lee. Lee went perfect from the line to give Rain or Shine some breathing space, 97-93. However, Wilkerson made a bonus play on the other end, making it a 97-96 count. Lee was again fouled, but he split his free throws, which gave the Beermen a chance to tie or win the game. Without any timeouts left, San Miguel had to advance the ball all the way from the backcourt. Cabagnot found Lassiter on the left wing, but the shooting guard fumbled in receiving the pass before heaving a shot that could have given them the win to tie the series.
Jericho Cruz top scored for the E-Painters with 16 points followed by Pierre Henderson-Niles’ 15 and Jeff Chan’s 14 markers. Rookie Maverick Ahanmisi proved steady down the stretch as he finished with 10 points. The E-Painters played without Coach Yeng Guiao as he had to attend a congressional debate in Pampanga. Assistant Coach Caloy Garcia handled the coaching duties.
On the other hand, Wilkerson led the Beermen anew with 35 points in the losing effort. Chris Ross chipped in 15 markers, but MVP front-runner June Mar Fajardo only contributed 14 points.
Rain or Shine will have a chance to end the series on Thursday, but San Miguel is hoping for another “Beeracle” run to keep their grand slam bid alive.