RoS eyes to force do-or-die Game 5

Rain or Shine aims to level its best-of-five semifinals series against San Miguel Beer at 7 p.m. tonight in Season 44 Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.

The Elasto Painters almost squandered their lead on Wednesday but hung on tough for a 112-104 win in Game 3, preventing a sweep by the Beermen despite Chris McCullough’s 51 points output.

“We hope that maybe we can still extend the series again and bring it to a Game 5,” said Rain or Shine coach Caloy Garcia, adding that avoiding errors is crucial to winning. “We just have to learn how to take care of the ball. If we want to win the game, we have to man up and prevent a turnover of the ball.”

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Carl Montgomery (No. 54) and Kris Rosales (No. 11) of Rain or Shine jockey for position against San Miguel Beer’s Christian Standhardinger during Game 3 of their best of five semifinals series in Season 44 PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum. PBA MEDIA BUREAU PHOTO

Import Carl Montgomery notched 25 points and 15 rebounds to lead the Elasto Painters in Game 3. But it was the locals headed by Rey Nambatac, Beau Belga, Gabe Norwood and rookie Javee Mocon who took charge in crunch time to save the day for Rain or Shine.

Nambatac posted 22 points while Belga had 16 including a three-point shot that earned Rain or Shine a good 110-104 lead in the dying seconds. Norwood scored 11 points and blocked McCullough’s go-ahead basket also in crunch time. Mocon contributed another 16 points.

San Miguel Beer coach Leo Austria said they are still in command of the series at 2-1.

“We are still lucky because it is a best-of-five series and we’re still leading 2-1. All we have to do is stay positive and identify what affects our team offensively and defensively,” said Austria.

“We always have a bad start and that’s something that could affect our performance. We are always on a catch up situation, we got tired. We’re lucky in the past few games despite being down 29 or 20, we are able to snatch a win. But it will not happen every time. We have to address this problem.”

San Miguel Beer is bracing for another finals entry after winning last conference’s Philippine Cup. The Beermen are also targeting their 42nd overall championship appearance.

Besides McCullough, only two Beermen scored in double figures in the last game namely Alex Cabagnot who had 16 points and Chris Standhardinger who finished with a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds.

Chris Ross, who scored a career-high 34 points in Game 2 highlighted by 10 triples, just scored six points in Game 3.

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