Rain or Shine draws first blood vs Meralco
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters used suffocating defense on Meralco Bolts import Josh Davis and a strong fourth quarter to come away with a 99-86 victory in game 1 of their PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinal series on Tuesday, March 31, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Rain or Shine import Wayne Chism registered 18 points on an efficient 7-of-8 display from the field in addition to 14 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 blocks. Paul Lee was the only other Elasto Painter to score in double-figures with 14 points, but 5 other men of head coach Yeng Guiao contributed at least 8 points in the win.
The Elasto Painters shot 47% from the field and trooped to the free throw line 36 times, making 29. A number of those were converted early in the final period, where Rain or Shine added 5 quick points on the scoreboard thanks to three shooting fouls by the Bolts.
“We just broke away in the fourth quarter,” Guiao said after the match.
“It’s our experience that gave us the advantage of being able to play a good finish in this game.”
Game 2 is on Sunday, April 5, following the Holy Week break of the PBA.
“This is just the first game… it’s far from over. We have a long break before Sunday, and they can make adjustments,” said a cautious Guiao.
Davis was limited to just 11 points on 4-of-12 shooting and 15 rebounds after averaging close to 21 points and 21 boards a game in Meralco’s quarterfinal series win against the NLEX Road Warriors.
Gary David put up 14 markers while Cliff Hodge and Sean Anthony recorded 13 points each to help out their struggling import, but the Bolts could not find enough firepower in their 15-point fourth quarter effort.
The first half was a tighter affair, even if Rain or Shine raced off the gates with a 26-14 lead at one point. But after Chism hurt his leg on a defensive play and had to sit down a few minutes, Meralco rallied to draw closer.
Both teams exchanged baskets for most of the second period, leading to a 49-49 tie at the half.
“Wayne was not getting enough touches in the first half, but we found a way to get him the ball in the second,” said Guiao.
The second half was a different script, as the Painters formed a wall every time a Bolt drove to the paint. Overall, Meralco finished with just 30 points in the shaded area, and was limited to a paltry 2 fast break points.
The Elasto Painters’ bench was much better than their counterparts’ on Tuesday, outscoring them 50-27. Rain or Shine also took advantage of 18 Bolts turnovers, with 22 translating into points.
Midway through the third quarter with his team ahead 87-80, Norwood hit a 3-pointer that was taken back at the next dead ball by the game’s referees after it looked like he was unable to get the ball off his hands before the shot clock expired.
While whether or not the shot should have counted is still up for debate, but Guiao is not pleased that the game’s officials did not call a whistle indicating a shot clock violation before making a change.
“I think it was an officiating error when Gabe [Norwood] shot the ball, there was no call, and the refs corrected the call after the shot was made,” said Guiao, who’s complained about PBA referees a few times over the past weeks.
“There was no whistle. The buzzer is not a whistle,” he argued.
RAIN OR SHINE (99) - Chism 18, Lee 14, Norwood 9, Cruz Jericho 9, Tiu 9, Cruz Jervy 9, Almazan 8, Uyloan 6, Teng 6, Arana 3, Ibanes 2, Tang 2, Belga 2, Quinahan 2, Chan 0.
MERALCO (86) - David 14, Hodge 13, Anthony 13, Davis 11, Cortez 11, Hugnatan 10, Ferriols 6, Wilson 3, Macapagal 3, Caram 2, Reyes 0, Ildefonso 0, Sena 0, Buenafe 0.
Quarter Scoring: 29-25, 49-49, 74-71, 99-86