It’s our experience that gave us that advantage, says Guiao on Rain or Shine’s strong finish
Game Today (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
7 p.m. – Talk ‘N Text vs Purefoods
(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
5 p.m. – Rain or Shine vs Meralco
Top seed Rain or Shine used a strong fourth quarter to outlast Meralco, 99-86, and draw first blood in their PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinal series last night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Elasto Painters led 74-71 at the start of the third but scored seven straight points led by Raymond Almazan, Paul Lee, and Chris Tiu to break the game wide open.
Almazan capped off the run with a dunk to put ROS up, 81-71, with 10:03 left to play, dampening hopes of a Meralco rally in the homestretch.
Import Wayne Chism had 18 points and 14 rebounds while Lee boosted his campaign for the Best Player of the Conference award by scoring 14 points off the bench as Rain or Shine moved two wins shy of advancing to the finals for the fifth time in franchise history.
Game 2 is set on Easter Sunday at the Big Dome.
“We just broke away in the fourth. They kept close to us for three quarters,” Guiao said. “Again it was our experience that gave us the advantage to be able to play good. This is just a first game. It’s a good thing to having won, but it’s far from over.” “We have a long break before Sunday and they can make the adjustments, there’s enough time to prepare. Jeff (Chan) is not a hundred percent. I had to take him out. He was feeling some pain in his legs. Those are the factors than can become the determining factors in this series,” added Guiao.
The Bolts closed the gap to 81-74 but Almazan scored a layup and Jervy Cruz hit two free throws to put the Painters up 85-74 with 7:45 remaining.
Gabe Norwood drained a three-pointer as the shot clock expired, but officials the referees nullified the shot seconds later when lead referee Art Herrera ruled it no basket that fumed the ROS bench.
But Norwood made up for that reversed call with a triple, then Lee scored off a Chism steal for a 92-80 lead with barely four minutes to go.
“It’s an officiating error (three-point shot of Norwood),” said ROS mentor Yeng Guiao. “There was no call, and the refs corrected the call after the play. There was no whistle. The buzzer is not a whistle.”
Guiao added: “If this game was close, that would have mattered a lot. We’re just thankful we had a good lead. They have to get themselves in one room and talk on how to improve the officiating.”
Gary David finished with 14 points while Cliff Hodge and Sean Anthony scored 13 points apiece for Meralco.
Bolts reinforcement Josh Davis added 11 points and 15 boards in the losing effort.
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.
Quarters: 29-25; 49-49; 74-71; 99-86.