After playing a subpar first half, the hottest team of the tournament so far was able to extend their win streak to six to end their elimination round stint as the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters scored a 96-89 win over the Meralco Bolts at the Big Dome on Father’s Day.
The Bolts went jumping from the get go as they went wire-to-wire in leading the game for the first 24 minutes of action. They quickly built a nine point lead at 15-6 with Andre Emmett asserting himself underneath while Rain or Shine was still struggling with their shooting. The lead increased to as much as 11 as the Bolts were able to maintained their tough start in the first half.
Paul Lee started the second half on fire as he scored five quick points so slice the lead to half. Rain or Shine played a faster pace in the third quarter compared to what they showcased in the first two quarters. However, they couldn’t cut the distance further as they muffed wide-open perimeter shots. Meanwhile, Meralco kept on pounding in transition as Cliff Hodge jams one in to make it 62-54 and keep the Painters at bay.
After a couple of stops that led to a McKines triple, Andre Emmett countered with four points of his own to continue the import duel in the third. As the game started to be played on a frantic pace, the import exchanged baskets while Chris Tiu hit a corner triple to complete a 13-6 scoring run. The run increased and ROS eventually took the lead with great ball movement and improved floor spacing. Doubling the output of their opponents in the third 24-12, the Painters took the lead by two entering the fourth.
The defense of the Painters picked up as they limited Meralco to four points in about five minutes of play. In the stretch, they also managed to pick up Reynel Hugnatan’s last foul while Jeff Chan knocked down his first three ball to make it 77-72. Minutes later, ROS built a strong 9-2 run as they limited their opponents to a lone basket by Hodge. The run served to be a major spurt as they built a comfortable 87-78 lead while Meralco kept on missing from the perimeter.
With long-ranged shots going wide, the Painters went running that led to transition baskets and make it a double-digit edge with a little over two minutes to go in the game. Off a timeout, Jarred Dillinger nailed a three pointer but it was too much Rain or Shine down the stretch. McKines scored on another strong and-one play that maintained a 10-pt lead with exactly a minute to play. Things would get interesting with the Bolts scoring five more points to chop the lead with 22 ticks left and Jericho Cruz missing potential lead-extending free throws. However, ROS stole the next play that led to Jeff Chan providing the game-sealing layup.
Rain or Shine eventually ended up shooting better from the field with a 47.2% clip compared to Meralco’s 41.7%. They had more rebounds as well, 49-42 and more points in the paint, 48-32.
McKines tallied 26pts, 12 rebounds on 7-of-12 shooting. Three more Elasto Painters ended up in double digit scoring with Jeff Chan’s 14 leading the way. Emmett scored 33 to lead his team but missed all of his seven three-point attempts.
The Painters ended their 11-game elimination round games with a 7-4 record while Meralco drops to 5-5 and will face Kia in their last assignment, 4:15pm on Tuesday at Araneta.
Rain or Shine(96) – McKines 26, Chan 14, Lee 12, Ibanes 10, Belga 9, Tiu 6, Cruz Jervy 6 Cruz Jericho 5, Almazan 4, Uyloan 2, Arana 2, Quinahan 0
Meralco(89) – Emmett 33, David 14, Dilinger 12, Hodge 7, Ando 6, Cortez 5, Ildefonso 4, Nabong 2, Caram 0
Quarterscores: 21-30, 46-56, 70-68, 96-89