BAY Area reasserted its dominance over Rain or Shine to the tune of a 126-96 drubbing Friday to make quick work of their quarterfinals duel and advance first into the PBA Commissioner's Cup's Final Four at the PhilSports Arena.
Hayden Blankley notched a career-high 47 points on top of 10 rebounds while Andrew Nicholson scattered 32 and eight in just three quarters as the top-seeded Dragons did not let their win-once advantage over the eighth-ranked Elasto Painters go to waste.
With its veritable repeat of a 120-87 win over the same team in their lone elimination round meeting, Bay Area automatically advanced to the best-of-five semifinals where it awaits the winner of the other quarterfinals pairing pitting San Miguel Beer against Converge.
Dragons coach Brian Goorjian believes it will be the Beermen his team would be facing next and said he is thrilled to get a shot at the defending champion.
"This is not the same San Miguel team that we saw in the regular season with (Terrence) Romeo in the team now, the big fellow (June Mar Fajardo) back and their overall depth. It's gonna be a real challenge for us," stated Goorjian.
"I'm just so excited that we're in the top four of the PBA in our first year," added Goorjian. "Tremendous accomplishment and we get to step up to the plate and get a swing at the champs. Couldn't ask for more."
The loss foiled Rain or Shine's bid to prolong its first playoffs stint in the last three conferences after failing to find any solution to Bay Area's height advantage and more accurate shooting from the field.
"Respect to Rain or Shine. (But) we shot the hell out of the ball tonight. They were competitive and they played us tough. The coach's gameplan was very, very good," said Goorjian.
Indeed, Bay Area made 46 out of its 83 attempts from the field, including 21-of-41 from the three-point line. The Dragons were also plus-16 in inside points following a whopping 55-35 advantage off the boards.
After struggling from beyond the arc in the early goings, the E-Painters finally found some of their touch from deep in the second half. By then, it was too late, too few and too far-between and mostly coming after the guest team had already erected an 85-51 lead.
Despite sitting out the final period, Rey Nambatac still led Rain or Shine with 19 points. Ryan Pearson added 15 points and Andrei Caracut and Mike Nieto 12 apiece. (NC)
Bay Area 126 - Blankley 47, Nicholson 32, Yang 13, Zhu 9, Song 6, Zheng 5, Lam 5, Liu 4, Ewing 3, Reid 2, Si 0, Ju 0, Zhang 0.
Rain or Shine 96 - Nambatac 19, Pearson 15, Caracut 12, Nieto 12, Asistio 9, Mamuyac 8, Clarito 7, Santillan 7, Belga 3, Ponferrada 1, Norwood 0, Guinto 0, Ildefonso 0, Torres 0.
Quarters: 27-16, 60-44, 92-68, 126-96