Monday, October 3, 2011

PBA Opening Game decided in the last second

In the first game of the Season Brgy. Ginebra Kings met the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters and it was a certified thriller! Unfortunately for Ginebra fans, Elasto Painters won the game by just 1 point, 93-94.

In the first quarter of the game, it was no surprise that Co-Head Coach Siot Tanquincen and Jong Uichico started the game with a 3-guard line up but NO Mark Caguioa in the starting five. It was quite obvious that Gin Kings lacked big men in their line up and it was exposed in their game. Nevertheless, Ginebra started the game with a blast, an 11-2 run in the early minutes of the first quarter and established their biggest lead of the game at 7 points.

Paul Lee-thal Weapon
Image by the PBA
After that Paul Lee entered the game, the overall 2nd draft choice and everything changed from that point. Lee was very aggressive from the start, he scored a quick 4 points by attacking the basket and challenging the defense of Ginebra.

Lee orchestrated a 6-2 run for the Rain or Shine and that brought them back to the game and stop the early rally of the Gin Kings. "Lee-thal Weapon" Paul Lee scored 10 points and dished 2 assists in the first quarter alone.

It was a very tight first quarter that ended with a very close score 20-19 in favor of Rain or Shine. Half of the points of Elasto Painters was scored by the "Lee-thal Weapon" Paul Lee.

When the second quarter started  Gin Kings made a 6-2 run again and gave them back the lead 25-24. It was the missed free throws of the Rain or Shine that kept the game closed in the first half. After 24 minutes of action Rain or Shine was still on top with a 7-point lead, 44-37.

In the 3rd quarter Jeff Chan exploded and helped Lee in scoring. Chan scored 17 points for the whole game, but the balanced attack of the Elasto Painters kept them in the lead after three quarters, but just before the 3rd quarter ended Chan made a momentum booster 4-point play with 3.5 seconds remaining in the clock and that increased their lead to 15 points, 77-62.

It was a crucial 4th quarter for the Gin Kings, again they made a 6-0 run in the start of the quarter but Rain or Shine answered back and posted their biggest lead of the game with 16 points in the 7:42 mark of the quarter, 87-71.

After that significant run of the Rain or Shine, in the 4:30 mark of the final quarter, the coaching staff of Ginebra made a very weird move by pulling out, Caguioa, Helterbrand and Tubid and they inserted the younger guys Labagala, Wilson (John), and Intal but surprisingly they made a huge impact in the last 2 minutes and 30 seconds of the game.

Labagala made a 3-point shot in the 2:20 mark, and that sparked the hostile crowd, while Intal made 2 bank shots to put the game with in reach for the Gin Kings, 91-93 and John Wilson made a difference in the defensive end by forcing Elasto Painters with 2 very crucial turnovers one from Buenafe and another one from Quinahan in the inbound, that kept the ''never say die'' Ginebra in the ball game and brought the lead down of Rain or Shine to just 2 points. 

Labagala had a chance to tie the game but he was blocked by Quinahan. John Wilson also had a chance to tie the game with a free throw line jumper but he aslo missed the open opportunity. 

Just 20.9 seconds remaining in the game with a score of 91-93 in favor of the Rain or Shine, Ginbera fouled Jeff Chan to stop the clock and gambled that Chan would miss, maybe Gin Kings fouled the wrong man.

It was a clincher for Chan, right? But pressure came into play. Jeff Chan a steady free throw shooter missed the first one, made the second one and that gave Ginbera a little hope. Rain or Shine only have a 3-point lead, 91-94. Ginebra could tied it with a 3-point shot.

In the last 4 seconds of the game Intal desperately attempted a 3-point shot to force an overtime and it was blocked but also fouled by JR Quinahan. Intal was awarded 3 free throws, he could tie the game, with only 0.7 remaining in the game clock

Intal made the first one, made the 2nd one but missed the 3rd free throw, but John Wilson got the rebound took a game winning shot but he missed again.

Rain or Shine survived the rally of Ginebra and won the game with a precarious 1 point lead. Gin Kings made a 22-6 run in the 4th quarter to made that come back., but the real difference maker was the Bench Points of the Elasto Painters with 52 points and the Fastbreaks points, 17 for Rain or Shine and just 4 for the Gin Kings.

After that thrilling game, ''Lee-thal Weapon" Paul Lee was the Best Player of the game with 21 points, 8 assists, 5 rebounds and 1 steal. A big game for the rookie and he made his statement in the league in his very first game.

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