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Rain or Shine showcases depth; whips Meralco in semis opener

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The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters did just enough on both ends of the court to make life hard for the Meralco Bolts and eventually escape with the 99-86 win, Tuesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Baskets from Wayne Chism, Jervy Cruz, and Jonathan Uyloan gave Rain or Shine a 7-0 lead to open the first quarter. The hot start laid the foundation for the Elasto Painters to hold on to the steady lead. The starters would hold the fort for Rain or Shine, and with three minutes left on the clock, a triple from Paul Lee forced the first double-digit lead of the game, 26-14. The Bolts took advantage of an absent Chism, who had to be subbed out after a bad collision with Meralco’s Josh Davis, to kick off a late flurry and cut the lead to single digits. At the end of the first 12 minutes, Rain or Shine led 29-25.

With momentum on their side, the Bolts were able to finally counter the Elasto Painters’ salvo. After a back-and-forth affair early in the second, a triple from Mark Macapagal gave Meralco its first lead of the game, 33-32. The Elasto Painters however countered with five unanswered points from Chris Tiu that put RoS back up by five within the next two minutes, 38-33. With momentum back on their side, the Elasto Painters would hold on to the steady in the next few minutes of play. Back-to-back baskets from Reynel Hugnatan and Sean Anthony helped Meralco force a deadlock just before halftime, 49-49.

The second half opened to another back-and-forth shootout that saw Rain or Shine hold on to their advantage, sinking the right baskets to keep the Bolts from stealing the lead. The return of Wayne Chism to the court helped the Elasto Painters regain control of the painted area. The Elasto Painters led by as many as nine, but another late surge from the Bolts cut the lead just before the buzzer. At the end of the quarter, RoS led 74-71.

Chris Tiu and Raymond Almazan collaborated for eight points that pushed the lead to double digits two minutes into the fourth, 81-71. A reinvigorated Cliff Hodge kept the baskets coming for Meralco, but the Bolts could do nothing to slow down the Elasto Painters. With two minutes left to play, RoS still led by double digits, 94-84. A couple of big stops underneath the rim and a couple more baskets were all Rain or Shine needed to seal the win.

Wayne Chism was named Best Player of the Game with 18 points, 14 rebounds, and 3 blocks, all while shooting 7 of 8 from the field and four out of four from the free throw line. Gary David led Meralco with 14 points. Meralco import Josh Davis was held to 11 points but brought down an impressive 15 rebounds. The Elasto Painters are now 1-0 in their Best-of-Five semifinal series.

The Scores:
Rain or Shine (99)
Chism 18, Lee 14, J. Cruz 9, Tiu 9, Norwood 9, J. Cruz 9, Almazan 8, Teng 6, Uyloan 6, Araña 3, Tang 2, Belga 2, Quiñahan 2, Ibañes 2

Meralco (86)
David 14, Hodge 13, Anthony 13, Davis 11, Cortez 11, Hugnatan 10, Ferriols 6, Wilson 3, Macapagal 3, Caram 2

Quarters: 29-25, 49-49, 74-71, 99-86

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