RAIN or Shine bucked the absence of head coach Yeng Guiao in the second half as it beat Meralco, 99-86, on Sunday in the PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Guiao was thrown out with less than three seconds remaining before intermission after his continuous complaining on a non-call on Paul Lee, who was hacked by several Meralco defenders.
It was the fiery mentor’s second ejection of the season. The first was in the Philippine Cup last October when he was sent off during the Painters’ 120-84 victory over Alaska.
Nevertheless, the Painters pulled off the victory with assistant coach Caloy Garica at the helm and Jamelle Cornley, Lee, and Ronjay Buenafe providing the crucial baskets down the stretch.
“They’re used to winning without me, so I don’t think there’s anything unusual with the result,” Guiao said.
“Coach Caloy (Garcia) and the rest of the assistants are capable of taking over anytime,” he added.
The Bolts still led, 71-68, at the end of the third before the Painters’ trio combined to score 21 of the team’s 31 points in the fourth to spearhead a telling run.
Cornley finished with 21 points and 14 boards, while Lee and Buenafe added 16 and 10 points, respectively for the Painters, who outscored the Bolts, 31-15, in the fourth.
The Painters, now at 9-2, are a win from assuring themselves of at least a playoff for a berth in the championship series.
“I’m really hoping we can get that win as soon as we can,” Guiao said.
Mario West had 33 points and nine boards for the Bolts, who dropped to 4-7 and out of contention.
RAIN OR SHINE 99 - Cornley 21, Lee 16, Buenafe 10, Belga 8, Chan 8, Ibanes 8, Norwood 7, Arana 7, Quinahan 6, Cruz 5, Rodriguez 3.
MERALCO 86 - West 33, Cardona 19, Ross 15, Reyes 11, Hugnatan 4, Bulawan 2, Mercado 2, Macapagal 0, Taulava 0.
Quarterscores: 26-13; 45-44; 68-71; 99-86.