A revitalized San Mig Super Coffee Mixers bounced back from a heartbreaking game 1 loss and humiliated the Rain Or Shine Elasto Painters, 80-70, to even their PLDT myDSL-PBA Philippine Cup Finals series at 1-all on Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Mixers, who played with a lot of energy after coming off a tiring seven-game series against Barangay Ginebra and a sorry loss in Game One, looked fresher compared to the Elasto Painters, pushing the ball at every opportunity while holding their rivals to just 24 points in the first half.
San Mig coach Tim Cone dug deep to his bench, getting quality minutes from Alex Mallari, Ian Sangalang and high-leaping rookie guard Justin Melton to avenge the team’s 80-83 loss in the opener of the best-of-seven series. Even seldom-used Jerwin Gaco provide some toughness on defense off the bench in limited minutes.
“Our guys were surprisingly ready. They kind of surprised me,” said San Mig coach Tim Cone after the team finally cooled down a Rain or Shine team that had won 12 of 13 games dating back to the eliminations.
“I thought they were a little worn after Game One, like ubos. But we came out strong.”
Marc Pingris and Peter June Simon keyed the team’s first-half run, scoring at every turn while adding to the defensive effort that Cone wanted them to play in Game Two.
On the other hand, San Mig’s defense derailed Rain or Shine's usually effective running game, holding the Elasto Painters to just five points in transition.
“Our first group played with a really great energy and the second group defended the heck of everybody,” said Cone.
“We didn’t shoot that well in the first half, but we defended very well. We kept strong and kept our poise because we want to keep this thing to a best-of-five. Now, we’re able to do that,” he added.
San Mig Coffee never allowed Rain or Shine to come closer than nine points the rest of the way, with Simon, James Yap, and Marc Pingris setting the tone and the Mixers’ second unit keeping the energy up.
The "Scoring Apostle" Simon led the Mixers with 15 points and Joe Devance added 13 and seven boards while taking advantage of his mismatch with shorter defender Jeff Chan during the game.
Pingris had an all-around game with 11 points, 12 rebounds, four assists, and two blocks, while alternating his defense between Rain or Shine top guns Jeff Chan and Paul Lee.
James Yap contributed 13, banging in nine in a critical third period that allowed the Mixers to erect several 17-point spreads.
With their comfortable lead, the Mixers found plenty of time to rest top guns Yap and Simon, who played just 24 and 22 minutes, respectively.
Chan was the lone bright spot for the Elasto Painters with 18 points, draining four three-point shots.
He shot 7-of-12 (58 percent) from the field while the rest of the team was 22-of-66 (33 percent).
Game Three is set on Wednesday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum with both teams looking to take the upperhand.
San Mig 80 - Simon 15, Devance 13, Yap 13, Pingris 11, Sangalang 10, Mallari 8, Barroca 4, Reavis 4, Melton 2, Gaco 0.
Rain or Shine 70 - Chan 18, Cruz 8, Norwood 8, Belga 7, Lee 7, Almazan 5, Teng 5, Quinahan 3, Nuyles 3, Tang 2, Ibanes 2, Rodriguez 2, Arana 0, Tiu 0.
Quarterscores: 20-13, 37-24, 58-48, 80-70
--- with reports from Spin.ph
San Mig pounced Rain Or Shine, even finals series at 1-all Reviewed by Jay-R Bayon-on on 2/16/2014 Rating: