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Chan, Almazan pace Rain or Shine to send Bolts packing



Playing against a team with nothing to lose, the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters overcame a third quarter deficit en route to a 97-87 escape, while bolstering their semis chance against the cellar-dwelling Meralco Bolts, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday.

Despite managing to make it a close affair in the early goings, the Meralco’s starters struggled offensively. By the 4-minute mark of the first, Rain or Shine doubled Meralco’s output at 14-7. However, 15 bench points courtesy of Baser Amer, Ryan Buenafe and Rabbeh Al-Hussaini made it a good closeout stretch to the period for the Bolts. At the end of the first twelve minutes, the Painters held a solitary point advantage.

The second period was a foul fest that slowed the pace of the game to a crawl. Amer and Dillinger continued to lift Meralco’s offense to aid their team to a minimal lead throughout the half. A good exchange of points ensued for both teams, but an 8-3 ending by the Bolts to the second gave them a 49-42 lead at the half.

Alapag and Newsome led the way to give Meralco a 56-46 lead, their largest of the game. Two major rallies were put up by RoS to claw their way back in the third quarter. The Painters also relied on seven free throw points as they hung on to a 67-66 lead after three quarters.

Kelly Nabong came to life in the fourth period, scoring all of his nine points in the payoff quarter. With 3:43 left in the game, Alapag shot a big three to make it an 81-80 affair, still in favor of the Painters. Unfortunately for the Bolts, the final stretch of the match went the way of the Elasto Painters. Chan responded with his own three, while Almazan’s effort in the offensive glass powered them to a seven point cushion late. Afterwards, a wide-open triple by Chan with 38 ticks left served to be the nail in the coffin.

Chan finished with 24 points, on 8/14 shooting and eight rebounds. Almazan added a dominating 21 points on 6/7 shooting from the field and 8/10 clip from the charity stripe. For the losing Bolts, Dillinger and Amer, who both came off the bench, combined for 28 points to lead the team.

Rain or Shine improves to an 8-2 record, while sitting at solo second spot above Alaska, who will be playing the league-leading Beermen after this match. They will round up their elims against the NLEX Road Warriors on Dec. 19. On the other hand, Meralco ended their forgettable Philippine Cup with only a win in eleven games.

The scores:

Rain or Shine (97) – Chan 24, Almazan 21, Cruz 13, Belga 9, Norwood 8, Quiñahan 5, Ponferada 4, Ahanmisi 4, Teng 3, Ibañez 2, Matias 2, Tiu 0

Meralco (87) – Dillinger 15, Amer 13, Newsome 12, Alapag 10, Nabong 9, Hugnatan 7, Hodge 8, Buenafe 7, Al-Hussaini 5, Faundo 0, David 0

Quarterscores: 23-22, 42-49, 67-66, 97-87

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