Rain or Shine bowed out of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup after faltering in Game 4 of the team’s semi-final series against San Miguel, 98-95.
The Beermen won the series, 3-1, but not before the Elasto Painters gave a tough battle all-series long, earning the respect and praise of the latter.
And for Gabe Norwood, the longest-tenured Elasto Painter, it was a commendable showing for his team given that prior import Denzel Bowles suffered an injury during the elimination round.
“I think we ended on a much better note than we started with. We were pretty inconsistent all conference but we were able to pull it together against one of the strongest teams outside of TNT,” a proud Norwood said after Game 4.
Norwood was chiefly responsible for extending the semis showdown after exploding in Game 3, although he only had 5 points and 4 boards in the following game.
Seeing that the Elasto Painters were able to compete against the best of the PBA, Norwood thinks a finals appearance is due soon for the franchise.
“I hope so. We are right there. A couple of plays away and a couple of games away. I can’t guarantee when but I see it happening soon,” he said.
It could be remembered that the Elasto Painters finished with the 6th seed and went on to beat the 3rd-seeded Blackwater Elite. On the other side of the fence, the Beermen had to overcome a twice-to-beat disadvantage against the 2nd-ranked Northport Batang Pier.
Seeing the independent teams put up a good fight this conference, Norwood says it would be a good trend for the league to get out of the perceived duopoly between the SMC and MVP-owned clubs as well.
“I think it’s great for the PBA. I hope everybody who’s tuning in appreciates what the small teams are trying to do and what they are trying to accomplish,” shared Norwood. “And how we are doing it, we are sticking with core groups and making guys just valuable throughout the league.”