The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters ended the grand slam bid of the San Miguel Beermen and became the first team to clinch a spot in the finals by a rousing 124-99 Game Four victory on Sunday, at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Paul Lee spearheaded Rain or Shine with 18 points and five assists. Five other E-Painters finished in double figures including import Pierre Henderson-Nile and Gabe Norwood who tallied 15 points each. Chris Tiu, Jericho Cruz, and Raymond Almazan chipped in 13, 12 and 10 points, respectively.
San Miguel’s returning import Arizona Reid paced the Beermen with 25 points in the losing effort. Reid came in to replace Tyler Wilkerson who was dismissed before the Beermen’s Game Three victory against Rain or Shine last Thursday. The Beermen played with an all-Filipino lineup before Reid’s arrival.
Marcio Lassiter supported Reid’s scoring with 20 points, while Alex Cabagnot tallied 18 markers. Slotman June Mar Fajardo had a quiet 12 points in the loss.
The E-Painters broke away in the second quarter behind the hot shooting of Lee, Tiu, and Cruz. They closed the half with a 61-42 advantage. The Beermen tried to rally back in some stretches of the match, trimming the lead to 11 points in the third quarter, 66-77. However, Rain or Shine went on 15-4 run to close the period with a 92-70 spread.
Rain or Shine never looked back and maintained a 20-point advantage all throughout the final period en route to Sunday’s victory. The E-Painters will face the winner of the Alaska-Meralco tussle in the best-of-seven championship series. The perennial contenders are on their sixth finals appearance since joining the league in 2006.