By Joel Orellana
PAUL LEE hit a difficult spin drive over towering Barako Bull import Liam McMorrow with 7.3 seconds left in second overtime to power Rain or Shine to a thrilling 134-32 victory and into the semifinals of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Governors’ Cup on Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Lee’s basket capped his all-around effort of 23 points, eight rebounds and seven assists to eliminate the Energy, who crawled back from a 25-point deficit before losing steam in the end.
Chico Lanete had the chance to send the game to a third overtime, but his attempt was challenged by Gabe Norwood and missed the target.
Wendel McKines led the Elasto Painters with 36 points and 15 rebounds, while four more players hit double figures for Rain or Shine, which advanced to the semifinals for the seventh straight conference.
“We didn’t want to go to a second game. Barako Bull gave us a hard time. After a hard game, we’re relieved we are already in the semis,” said Rain or Shine Head Coach Yeng Guiao, whose team will face the winner of Saturday’s other quarterfinal match-up between No. 2 seed San Miguel Beer and seventh-ranked Meralco.
“We played well in the first half. But we know it’s not going to be easy and we fell to the mental trap,” he added.
McMorrow paced the Energy with 32 points and 23 boards, while RR Garcia added 25 markers. Joseph Yeo had an all-around performance for Barako Bull with 16 points, seven rebounds and 10 assists.
The Energy slowly erased Rain or Shine’s 25-point lead behind Yeo, Garcia and McMorrow, whose two-hand slam tied the game at 111-111 in regulation.Beau Belga had the chance to win it but his three-point attempt was way off to send the game in first overtime.
Norwood committed a big error in the first overtime but the Energy failed to capitalize on the booboo as Garcia missed on a drive for the second overtime, 124-all.
Both teams exchanged baskets in the next second extra five minutes and McMorrow’s slam tied the game for the last time at 132-all with 27.4 seconds left. Then Lee delivered the dagger with a spin move and banked a shot over the Energy’s seven-foot import that turned out to be the game winner.
Defending champion Star and GlobalPort, meanwhile, will square off anew on Sunday in their knockout quarterfinal match at 5 p.m. also at the Big Dome.
The fifth-seed Hotshots forced a rubbermatch against the twice-to-beat Batang Pier with a 126-73 demolition on Friday.