E-Painters outplay Llamados, take Game 1

Cone throws chair, gets thrown out

Game 2 on Wednesday
(Smart Araneta Coliseum)

6:30 p.m. – Rain or Shine vs. B-Meg
 
 
Making their first PBA finals stint ever, the Elasto Painters of Rain or Shine took 24 minutes of emotionally-charged plays to fine-tune themselves in hostile territory. But once they settled down, the E-Painters turned into an unstoppable force.

Riding high on a blistering third-quarter charge led by import Jamelle Cornley, Rain or Shine turned back a worn-out B-Meg crew 91-80 Sunday night to draw first blood in their Governors Cup finals showdown at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

After a so-so first half outing where he tallied just eight points, Cornley pumped in 13 of his game-best 25 points in the third quarter to help the E-Painters take full control in the second half and gain the initial upper hand in their best-of-seven series.

Rookie Paul Lee contributed 14 points while Gabe Norwood and Ronjay Buenafe added 10 apiece for the Rain or Shine, which is now three wins away from clinching its first crown since joining the pro league in 2006.

“I'm really proud of the way the boys handled the pressure of the finals," noted Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao. "Once we got settled down and just able to soak up the atmosphere, they settled down to their regular game. They were okay from then on. Malaking bagay ito sa kumpiyansa namin,”

James Yap led B-Meg with 19 points and seven boards but import Marqus Blakely, hounded by the E-Painters’ suffocating defense throughout, was limited to just 12 markers and seven rebounds before fouling out with 37.4 seconds remaining.

Guiao, who already has five titles under his belt, said the additional rest gave his team an added boost. “Malaking bagay ‘yung nakapagpahinga kami. We had a fresher entry into this series.”

The Llamados, who grinded out a 74-72 squeaker over sister team Brgy. Ginebra in their energy-sapping knockout match last Friday, played razor-sharp in the early goings but succumbed to pressure – emotionally and physically – in the critical juncture, typified by coach Tim Cone’s ejection midway through the fourth.

Disgusted with a non-call on a driving Yap as they trailed 64-74, Cone threw a monobloc chair into the court and quickly got the boot with seven minutes left.

"The physicality is great out there," stressed Cone. "Our guys got frustrated. Our pleas were falling on deaf ears. I simply got tired of it all and let my frustrations get the better of me."

With Cone out, the Painters gamely pounced on.

Jeff Chan drained a baseline jumper then Norwood canned two straight triples in another RoS charge that shoved the E-Painters ahead at 83-65.

Six consecutive points by PJ Simon and Marc Pingris cut B-Meg’s deficit to just 75-85 but Cornley slammed one home that virtually wrapped up with 1:27 left.

"I want to give credit to our import who just stayed there. He was able to get us out of trouble when we needed him the most," noted Guiao of Cornley who shot 11-of-14 from the field aside from adding 11 rebounds and four dimes.

 
 
The scores:
 
RAIN OR SHINE 91 – Cornley 25, Lee 14, Norwood 10, Buenafe 10, Belga 8, Ibanes 8, Chan 7, Arana 4, Quinahan 4, Cruz 1.

B-MEG 80 – Yap 19, Blakely 12, Pingris 12, Simon 9, Gaco 8, Barroca 6, Villanueva 5, Reavis 4, Urbiztondo 3, De Ocampo 2.
Quarters: 18-16, 35-39, 66-59, 91-80

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