MANILA, Philippines – Disappointment is the best way to describe the current mood of the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters.
Five times in the last 9 conferences, Rain or Shine has made the PBA Finals. But in each of their last 4 trips, the team has come up short of their goal of hoisting a championship.
Their most recent defeat came at the hands of the Talk ’N Text Tropang Texters, who won the Commissioner’s Cup title after a thriller of a seventh game on Wednesday, April 29.
Rain or Shine rallied from a 15-point deficit in the third quarter and even led in the first overtime, 104-101, before falling to Finals MVP Ranidel De Ocampo, Jayson Castro, and Ivan Johnson in the second 5-minute session, 121-119.
“I mean, it’s one of those situations where we left everything out on the court,” said Rain or Shine swingman Gabe Norwood after the contest.
“Personally, I didn’t shoot the ball well again,” he said, clearly disappointed, after shooting 2-of-8 from the field and 17-of-53 overall in the series.
“It’s been kind of an inconsistent theme through the series. It’s more frustrating that I felt like I let my teammates down. You got Wayne, who basically just put his body out there and you know, it hurts. It hurts when you put that much effort into a game, into a conference, and to come out on the short end, it hurts.”
Chism scored 34 points - 24 in the final quarter and overtimes. Paul Lee, the team’s star point guard, finished with a career-high 38 points and hit 7 triples, keeping his team alive in the first half where Talk ’N Text was up 21-5 at one point.
“I mean, I’m so proud of everybody in there. Paul came out and he showed up. This is his time to shine and he did that. He came out, shot the ball great. Demanded the game. Defended well,” said Norwood.
“He played every aspect of the game well, along with Wayne. It’s kind of tough being one of those guys who didn’t step up and help. They did their part, so you can’t be mad at those guys.”
When asked what Rain or Shine needs to do to finally break through and win the title that has eluded them for nearly three years now, Norwood said it had more to do with the ‘breaks of the game’ rather than roster-related.
“It’s the little things. Little plays here and there,” he said. “Just breaks of the game too. We got, you know, Ivan Johnson hits a step-back three (to tie the game at 104) well-contested by Jireh [Ibanes]. Ranidel hits a three on me that I thought I blocked. I don’t know how it went in. Just little plays - they made plays and we weren’t able to make stops.”
The Elasto Painters will have little time to sorrow over the loss with the Governors’ Cup scheduled to begin next week. Their incoming import, Wendell McKines, has already spent close to two months with the team and has grown accustomed to his teammates in practices.
“It’s good to have our import here for next conference. I think he feels the pain with us. He’s gone through the process. He’s really gotten to be part of the team, so I’m sure he wants to do his part to get us back in this situation,” Norwood said.
But for now, the Rain or Shine forward can’t help but feel frustrated over another lost title.
“I mean, I guess it hurts the most since it’s the most recent,” he said. “To be honest, I don’t remember the other ones. I couldn’t tell you what happened in those games, I just know what’s happening here and now and it’s just frustrating.”