Painters try to extend lead as Bolts hope for ‘resurrection’ in Easter Sunday semifinal showdown
Coach Norman Black hopes to steer the Bolts away from a huge hole against coach Yeng Guiao and the Painters. Jerome Ascano

RAIN or Shine guns for a commanding lead and put Meralco in a deeper hole when the the Painters and Bolts collide on Easter Sunday in Game Two of their PBA Commissioner’s Cup best-of-five semifinals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

After winning the series-opener, 99-86, Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao used the long weekend to keep his players’ minds and bodies fresh, giving them two separate days off, for what he is anticipating to be a tough series ahead.

“It’s a good thing to gain an advantage in having won the first of the five-game series, but it’s far from over,” said Guiao on the eve of the team’s 5 p.m. match.

“We had a long break. They (Bolts) can make adjustments. That’s a time to prepare.”

Rain or Shine was at its best with a mean running game in the series opener, outgunning Meralco en route to a huge 26-2 fastbreak points difference.

“Again, it’s our experience that gave us that advantage and being able to play a good finish in Game (one). All that experience is going to show in the fourth quarter,” said Guiao.

For Meralco coach Norman Black, Sunday’s theme is “resurrection” as they try to win Game Two and avoid digging their own grave site in the playoffs.

“Definitely, it’s a must-win situation for us,” said Black. “The last thing you want to do is go down 0-2 in a best-of-five series.”

Black can’t help but remind his wards that it is defense that will sustain the Bolts’ championship drive in the mid-season conference.

“The things we have to do well remain the same, because we must slow their fastbreaks and do a better job against their pick and roll,” emphasized Black.

Meralco’s only Final Four stint was in the 2013 Governors Cup where the Bolts, then mentored by Ryan Gregorio, bowed to eventual champion San Mig Coffee Mixers, 1-3.

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