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PBA: Painters down Bolts

Games Today (Smart Araneta)
3 p.m. – Barako Bull vs Kia
5:15 p.m. – SMB vs Barangay Ginebra

Davao City – Coach Yeng Guiao was ejected early in the second quarter but it turned out to be the catalyst Rain or Shine needed as the Painters streaked to their third straight win with a 107-79 drubbing of the Meralco Bolts in the Petron Saturday Special of the PBA Philippine Cup at the University of the Southern Philippines gym here.

Three straight triples, with back-to-back from Jeric Teng, got the Painters going early, leading by 11 points in the first frame. But they wavered a bit that saw Guiao lose his cool over a non-call that led to his ejection with just 89 seconds gone in the second frame.

His ejection momentarily got the better of the Painters who relinquished the lead to an Anjo Caram– led Meralco attack that put the Bolts ahead at 34-33.

But that proved to be Meralco’s final stand.

Ty Tang sparked Rain or Shine’s blazing second quarter finish with a gutsy drive of his own then drew ample support from Jonathan Uyloan and Paul Lee.

After missing his first four attempts on the floor – three from beyond the three-point arc, Lee, who has a good number of fans here, finally got his rhythm going after making a bank shot.

He was unstoppable after that.

He broke Meralco’s defense with jaw-dropping moves and created opportunities for his teammates when he scattered 10 assists.

The 6-foot Lee went to post a double-double by adding 20 points. He also had three steals.

With the win, the Painters improved to 5-2 while the Bolts dropped to 3-3.

Aside from Guiao’s antics who was thrown out after he was called successive technical fouls for shouting invectives at the referees, fight nearly broke out late in the third with Rain or Shine already unassailably ahead.

Raymond Almazan, proving he’s no patsy, stood up to veteran John Ferriolas after he was felled by an ugly tackle.

Meanwhile, Barako Bull takes on Kia Motors today at the Smart Araneta Coliseum at 3 p.m. before the 5:15 p.m. blockbuster showdown between No. 2 Barangay Ginebra San Miguel (5-1) and No. 3 San Miguel Beer (4-1), where both teams could trade places or maintain the status quo behind unbeaten leader Alaska.

The second game will be highlighted by the first 40th season collision between SMB’s June Mar Fajardo and Ginebra’s Greg Slaughter, a titanic clash that should rock the Big Dome down to its foundation.

But as earth-shaking as that encounter could prove to be, the gripping drama belongs to the curtainraiser where Manny Pacquiao’s Kia Sorento gun for a virtual slot in the quarterfinals, if all things stay equal, and probably plane and venue tickets to Macau for their playing-coach’s coming WBO welterweight championship fight against American Chris Algieri.

Barako Bull would love nothing than to lay waste to that grand plan.

The Sorento are at 10th spot with a 1-5 win-loss record, while the Energy are at 11th, having lost all five of their games halfway through the elimination round. Hard-lucked Blackwater Elite, who had a big lead over Kia during the inaugural but squandered the advantage before a mammoth crowd of nearly 56, 000 at the Philippine Arena, bring up the rear with 0-6 slate. (Rey Lachica)