The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters are solo third in the Philippine Cup standings, following a 107-79 trouncing of the Meralco Bolts, Saturday evening at the University of Southeastern Philippines gym in Davao City.
Paul Lee, who was sidelined for a couple of weeks earlier in the season due to an injury once more made a strong case for Best Player of the Conference contention, finishing with 20 points, 10 assists, and 3 steals.
Trigger-happy Rain or Shine opened the contest effortlessly nailing basket after basket on the attack. Powered by eight early points from Jeric Teng, the Elasto Painters by as much as eleven, 23-12, with four minutes left on the clock. Spurred by Anjo Caram, the Bolts however would rise to the occasion, closing out the quarter with a 7-4 rally. At the end of the first period, the score stood at 27-19.
Meralco opened the second quarter with a 6-0 run, two points coming from successful free throw charities after Rain or Shine head coach Yeng Guiao was slapped with a technical foul for complaining, to come within striking distance, 25-27, in only the first two minutes of the quarter. The Bolts would steal back the lead for the first time since the opening minutes of the previous quarter, after a Sean Anthony fastbreak floater gave them a 32-31 edge with seven minutes left on the clock. A 10-0 run from the Elasto Painters however gave Yeng Guiao’s squad the means to pull away once more and wrest control of the ballgame. At the end of the second quarter, Rain or Shine’s lead had ballooned once more, 50-38.
The Elasto Painters would return to the court looking with all guns blazing. Nailing basket after basket while forcing the Bolts to misfire on the other end, the lead would only balloon in the quarter. Rain or Shine led by the twenty with 9:10 on the clock, and later thirty-one with forty seconds left. At the end of the third period, Rain or Shine sat comfortably in the driver’s seat, 87-56.
Things got heated at the start of the fourth quarter. A minute into the quarter, a near-scuffle broke out between Rain or Shine bigman Raymond Almazan and Meralco veteran enforcer and Davao native John Ferriols. After being hit by Ferriols’ elbow while boxing each other for the rebound, Almazan lashed at his mark, with the referees and players from both squads rushing to put an end to the fracas. Cooler heads prevailed before punches could be thrown. Ferriols was slapped a flagrant 1 for the contact while Almazan was penalized with a technical foul for seconding the motion.
Meralco would show some sign of life, trimming the lead to twenty-four points at one point, but could mount no major comeback. Rain or Shine would manage to spend the quarter padding their score with ease.
Jeff Chan and Raymond Almazan contributed 16 and 14 points respectively for the Elasto Painters. Mark Macapagal led the scoring for Meralco with 16 points off the bench. Rain or Shine improves to 5-2, solo third in the standings, while Meralco slides to 3-3.