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(Updated 9:25pm) Dreams do come true.
The Rain or Shine Elastopainters have won their first franchise championship in the PBA, defeating the B-MEG Llamados, 83-76, in game seven of the 2012 PBA Governor's Cup, Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
"We waited for this for six years. We dared to dream and finally tonight, we accomplished our dream in winning a championship in the PBA," said Rain or Shine team owner Raymond Yu.
The Elasto Painters thwarted an epic comeback by the Llamados, who forced a do-or-die game seven after going down 3-1 in the series. RoS managed to claim the crown even without Rookie of the Year Paul Lee, who went down in game two due to a recurring shoulder injury.
The Llamados played catch up the whole game, as the Elasto Painters started the game with precision sniping from the outside, as Jireh Ibanes, Jeff Chan, and Ryan Arana knocked down key three pointers to augment Gabe Norwood and Jamelle Cornley's performance in the paint.
The Elasto Painters went on to produce 35 big points in the opening period, a series record, to eclipse the 22-point production of B-MEG.
A couple of three's from Mark Barroca and James Yap in the second quarter, followed by a Yancy De Ocampo and-one play cut the lead to four, 35-31. The lead went down to one at the 5:23 mark, as Yap buried a jumper, 43-42, but Ibanes countered with a triple to give his side some breathing space.
A Blakely lay-up then tied the game at 48-all with 2:08 remaining, before a Jervy Cruz follow up with a fraction of a second remaining put RoS ahead heading to the halftime break, 50-48.
Yap opened up the second half with an and one play to take the lead, 51-50, before RoS went on a 15-2 run capped off by a Norwood three, 63-53, with 7:53 remaining in the third. The Llamados responded with their own 7-0 run, but Ronjay Buenafe split charities to hand the Painters a two-possession lead entering the final quarter, 68-64.
Yancy De Ocampo started the fourth quarter with an and one play to cut the lead to one, 68-67, but that would be as low as the gap between the two teams would go from that point on. Beau Belga and Cornley response by hitting five straight to bring the lead back up to six, 73-67.
At the 8:30 mark, B-MEG got into big trouble, as Blakely was slapped with his sixth and final foul after getting a piece of Norwood's arm as the latter went up for an undergoal stab. Halfway through the final period, B-MEG was able to string four straight to bring down the lead to three, 76-73, but the Llamados certainly missed the inside presence of Blakely, as Cornley, Belga, and Jervy Cruz imposed themselves in the paint to bring the lead up to eight, 82-74 with 1:36 left.
However, with 3:58 remaining, it looked the game seven was going to be an all-Filipino affair, as Cornley hobbled to the bench needing some stretching due to cramps. The American quickly returned though to replace Jervy Cruz in the ensuing play, determined to finish the game for the Elastopainters.
PJ Simon tried to ignite B-MEG's last push at the 1:10 mark after a steal and a lay-up, getting his side within six, 82-76 with 1:10 left, but prior to that, he and "Big Game" James Yap missed shots they would have normally made, as the Llamados unraveled on the court.
With 22 seconds left in the game, Cornley then iced things with a split at the line. Things were then made official when Yancy De Ocampo missed down low for the Llamados, allowing Rain or Shine to being their celebration.
It is the first championship for Rain or Shine after joining the league in 2006. It won six championships in the Philipine Basketball League (PBL) prior to joining the PBA.
"Salamat sa inyong lahat. Sa inyo kami humugot ng lakas namin. Para sa inyo to," said a tearful Yeng Guiao, whose voice was quivering as he addressed the Rain or Shine fans in the stadium.
"They're the youngest team in terms of average age. Gagaling pa 'tong mga batang ito," added Guiao, echoing the positive outlook of team owner Raymond Yu, who expressed his anticipation for another championship.
Jeff Chan was named Finals MVP, as he averaged 11.6 points and three rebounds in the series.
With the win, the Elastopainters made sure that no team held two conference championships in the 37th season of the PBA. Talk n' Text won the Philippine Cup, while the Llamados won the Commissioner's Cup last May. - AMD, GMA News
RAIN OR SHINE 83 - Cornley 20, Chan 16, Norwood 15, Ibanes 8, Cruz 7, Belga 7, Arana 5, Tang 4, Buenafe 1, Jaime 0, Quinahan 0.
B-MEG 76 - Yap 23, Blakely 15, Simon 11, Urbiztondo 8, De Ocampo 8, Barroca 5, Reavis 4, Pingris 2, Villanueva 0.
Quarter scoring: 35-22, 50-48, 68-64, 83-76