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Painters whip Elite

Paul Lee vs Heruela

Game Today (Quezon Convention Center, Lucena City)
5 p.m. – Ginebra vs Globalport

Games Tomorrow
(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
3 p.m. – Rain or Shine vs Kia
5:15 p.m. – Talk ’N Text vs Alaska

Even a lead-tying seventh win last night has failed to placate Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao who took to task the referees for “quitting on the game.”

Wayne Chism weathered early foul trouble to score 30 points and pull down 14 rebounds and the ROS Elasto Painters capitalized on Blackwater’s overdependence on Marcus Douthit in posting a 102-98 victory in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Chism picked up his third foul in the first quarter where he played just five minutes, watching from the bench as his team struggled. But he had 11 in a flurry in the second period and 10 in the third to help build a 15-point advantage that cushioned a last-ditch comeback by the Elite.

On his penultimate game with Blackwater, Douthit, Gilas Pilipinas’ naturalized player in the forthcoming SEABA Championships and the Southeast Asian Games both in Singapore, labored without relief, pouring 11 of his 34 points in the final 12 minutes.

But the weight of playing 48 minutes ultimately took its toll on the 34-year-old former LA Laker center as Rain or Shine used its double-digit lead to ward off the Elite.

The E-Painters grabbed a share of leadership with defending champion Purefoods and Talk ‘N Text with a 7-3 win-loss card although the Star Hotshots can seize back the upper hand with a victory over the Meralco Bolts (6-3) later in the evening.

Meralco will trade places with Purefoods if it prevails.

Closing in on one of two twice-to-beat incentives in the quarterfinal playoffs has left Guiao with little comfort however.

“I guess the refs stopped doing their jobs in the last few minutes,” said Guiao. “I don’t wish to see that this is the precursor of things to come in terms of officiating.”

The volatile mentor apparently was piqued by non-calls that could have otherwise gone their way in the closing minutes when Blackwater seriously threatened.

“As much as the players need to focus on the game, the refs need to focus on their jobs too,” Guiao said.

Three-pointers from Paul Lee, Chism and Jonathan Uyloan halfway in the fourth quarter gave ROS a 98-84 spread, an edge the E-Painters were looking to coast with before Douthit, Brian Heruela and Val Acuna brought the 2-8 Elite rumbling all the way back to within four points before time ran out.

“We just took advantage of our import playing fresher,” said Guiao. “Our luxury is we were able to rotate our people. And we were able to break in our injured players.”

Various injuries have sidelined TY Tang, Jeric Teng and this season’s 9th overall pick Jericho Cruz, but all three made a successful comeback against Blackwater. Cruz, who fractured an ankle in the Philippine Cup, underwent surgery that took four months to heal.

Although the three guards returned to active duty, ROS, however, saw veteran forward Jervy Cruz leaving the game with a bloody cut above the nose following a rebound collision with Jason Ballesteros in the first quarter.

His condition remains unknown.

In the second game, import Denzel Bowles scored 37 points while PJ Simon and James Yap added 15 apiece to lead the Purefoods Star Hotshots to a 96-85 victory over the Meralco Bolts.

Import Josh Davis scored 31 for the Bolts. Gary David and Jared Dillinger were the only locals who scored in double figures for Meralco with 27 and 10, respectively.

RAIN OR SHINE 102 – Chism 30, Lee 14, Belga 11, Tiu 10, Norwood 8, Tang 6, Quinahan 5, Cruz Jericho 4, Almazan 4, Uyloan 3, Ibanes 2, Arana 2, Cruz Jervy 2, Chan 1, Teng 0.

BLACKWATER 98 – Douthit 34, Acuna 20, Heruela 15, Gamalinda 11, Reyes 6, Faundo 4, Canada 2, Rodriguez 2, Celiz 2, Bulawan 2, Erram 0, Ballesteros 0, Laure 0.

Quarters: 18-20, 46-41, 78-65, 102-98.

Second game:
PUREFOODS 96 – Bowles 37, Simon 15, Yap 15, Mallari 7, Barroca 7, Maliksi 5, Reavis 4, Pingris 4, Devance 2, Taha 0, Melton 0.

MERALCO 85 – Davis 31, David 27, Dillinger 10, Anthony 7, Cortez 4, Hugnatan 4, Macapagal 2, Reyes 0, Wilson 0, Ildefonso 0, Caram 0, Ferriols 0.

Quarters: 29-21, 50-45, 78-67, 96-85.