Rain or Shine evens quarterfinals series against Meralco
MANILA, Philippines - There would be no miracle comeback for the Meralco Bolts on Wednesday, April 23 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum as they were battered and beaten down good by the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, 102-93, who got back at the Bolts for their Game 1 loss to even the best-of-3 quarterfinals series out in the 2014 PLDT Home TVolution Commissioner's Cup.
Meralco head coach Ryan Gregorio and his squad are on the brink of failing to close out and losing in the quarterfinals once again as the Painters dominated over Meralco from start to finish.
Rain or Shine thwarted every Bolts rally throughout the contest. For every attempt by Meralco, Rain or Shine pushed them back with more force to break their spirits.
"Just don't give up, guys. Just don't give up. Stop making foolish turnovers," Gregorio said to his players in the huddle during the final minute of the game.
Rain or Shine forced the Bolts to 24 turnovers, which is the most by any team this conference, according to PBA head statistician Fidel Mangonon III.
The Elasto Painters ran away with Game 2 thanks to their superb consistency throughout the game. They also held tough against the physicality employed by the Bolts and fought back hard as well.
"We just wanted to come back strong," said Rain or Shine head coach Yeng Guiao. "We focused on our defense; our offense was just secondary. The energy that we exerted on defense just rubbed off on our offense."
He added, "It was a very physical, rugged game."
The 30 fouls that both teams were whistled for is a testament to the physicality of the game. So too were the bumps and bruises sustained by key players on both squads.
Meralco Bolts forward Jared Dillinger was rushed to the hospital after colliding hard with Rain or Shine import Wayne Chism in the third quarter. Gregorio says he still has no update on Dillinger's condition.
At one point as well with 2:35 left in the first half, Paul Lee and Cliff Hodge collided as well, their knees clashing, leaving both players on the floor. Lee, who finished with 8 points, took longer to get up.
The Bolts tried to turn the game around in the final 2:13 minutes when Sunday Salvacion delivered his Sunday special of back-to-back three-pointers to whittle down the once double digit lead to 93-85. But the Bolts sputtered to the final buzzer after that as Lee hit his freebies and Alex Nuyles effectively sealed the deal with a lay-in on the break, 97-88, with 1:04 left.
Hodge ‘out there trying to hurt people’
Guiao called out Hodge after the game and waited for him before heading to the dugout. Guiao was furious about a play towards the end of the game where he says Hodge threw a punch to rookie Raymond Almazan.
"I think punching a player in the face during a rebound play, I think that's way out of the rules of the league," Guiao declared during the post game press conference.
Hodge finished with 7 points, while import Darnell Jackson had 21 points and 22 rebounds. Gary David sparked 19 points, while Salvacion added 18.
For Rain or Shine, Chism led the way with 26 points. He had some help in Ryan Araña's 12 points and Gabe Norwood's 11.
Rain or Shine (102): Chism 26, Araña 12, Norwood 11, Cruz 10, Tang 10, Lee 8, Tiu 6, Belga 4, Ibañes 4, Rodriguez 4, Chan 3, Almazan 2, Nuyles 2, teng 0.
Meralco (93): Jackson 21, David 19, Salvacion 18, Wilson 9, Hodge 7, Hugnatan 6, Timberlake 4, Dillinger 4, Caram 3, Sena 2, Ildefonso 0, Guevarra 0.
Quarter scores: 22-18; 49-34; 77-66; 102-93.