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Rain or Shine into the Philippine Cup basketball finals.

Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao talked with a lot of humility after this game, though he had all the reasons to do otherwise.

"I'm glad that it's all over," Guiao said after his Elasto Painters played with utter second half dominance to blast San Mig Coffee, 90-83 at the Mall of Asia Arena, to become the first team in the PBA Philippine Cup Finals.

"I was just telling the guys before the game that it's either we finish off San Mig in Game 6 or they finish us off in Game 7," Guiao said, never mind if he guided his Painters to possibly their finest performance of the young season that they looked unbeatable last night.

"I felt that if this series had gone to a Game 7, our chances would have been really low." Jeff Chan scored 27 points and Paul Lee scattered 15 as both carried the fight offensively for the Painters by snapping out of their personal slumps and keying a 4-2 decision in the series.

"Jeff and Paul came back tonight when we really needed them," Guiao said after his two best outside guns combined for five triples, 12 rebounds and seven assists.

Rain or Shine outrebounded the taller Mixers to the tune of 62-48, with Gabe Norwood and Beau Belga collaring 12 boards each.

The Painters improved to 8-0 for the conference every time they won the battle off the boards, with all of their four wins in the series having them winning in that very important department.

Things were tied at 73 after a James Yap three-point play with 8:50 to go before the Painters dropped a decisive 11-0 bomb that put the Mixers away for good.

Chan, who scored 35 points last Oct. 12 in a 99-98 overtime win over Air21 but saw his performance dip from there, scored seven of his total in that burst, including a triple from way, way out that beat the shotclock for 80-73.

Peter June Simon scored 29 points and was the only one who truly shone for Tim Cone at San Mig. Yap was held down to just six points in 39 minutes after Guiao threw several crack defenders on the former two-time MVP.

"We're really lucky that their guys didn't explode (offensively) at the same time," Guiao said. "Our game plan was simple and that was to run at every given time." "Had PJ not had that explosive game, we would have lost by 30," Cone said. "They outworked us in all departments. It's as simple as that." Rain or Shine thus will have a crack at a second straight championship following its breakthrough romp in the Governors' Cup last August, interestingly enough, also against this San Mig team.

And for Guiao, this will be his 11th title series appearance and third shot at an all-Filipino championship.

The firebrand mentor has won six titles in his career, the most by any coach in the league who has never won an all-Filipino championship. Guiao's previous five titles came with Swift (two) and with Red Bull (three).

Rain or Shine will meet the winner of the Talk 'N Text-Alaska series, which the Tropang Texters lead, 3-2, starting Wednesday.

Game 6 of that matchup is today.

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Publication:Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
Date:Jan 4, 2013
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