Rain or Shine secures first-ever PBA crownBy Calvin Cordova
Cebu Daily News
They could have won it earlier. But as the saying goes, it’s better late than never.
The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters sealed their first-ever championship crown with an 83-76 win over the favored B-Meg Llamados in their winner-take-all Game 7 of the 37th PBA Governors’ Cup best-of-seven championship series last night at the packed Araneta Coliseum.
Champions for the first time since joining the league in 2006, the Painters wrapped up the series, 4-3, finally closing out the Llamados, who fell short of completing back-to-back championship finishes after winning the Commissioner’s Cup crown.
At one point in the series, Rain or Shine led two games to one but B-Meg won games 5 and 6 to tie the series and went into the deciding game looking to become only the second team in league history to overhaul a 1-3 series deficit.
Completing that rare feat remained a possibility for the Llamados until a crucial play came in the final 8:30 of the game.
Import Marqus Blakely was whistled for his sixth and final foul while trying to prevent Gabe Norwood from completing a put-back. Blakely had just checked back into the game when he committed his last foul as he had to sit down for several minutes after picking up his fifth foul with just five seconds left in the third.
Blakely fouled out with 15 points and 16 rebounds.
A three-point play by Yancy de Ocampo to start the fourth brought the Llamados to within 67-68, but big man Beau Belga hit a three-pointer then Jamelle Cornley scored in the paint that strecthed the Painters lead to 73-67.
Norwood completed a split free throw after Blakely’s crucial foul then answered James Yap’s basket with two more free throws.
Yap, who finished with 23 points, and Rafi Reavis combined for four straight points for B-Meg, which threatened at 73-76 in the final 5:27.
The Llamados had several chances of inching closer but missed some good looks at the basket as the Painters did just enough to survive.
Jeff Chan was named the Most Valuable Player in the hard-fought championship duel.