RAIN or Shine notched its first victory in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup despite the absence of injured star Jeff Chan, going on a game-clinching 17-point tear to beat Meralco, 91-82, in an out-of-town game at the Puerto Princesa Coliseum on Saturday night.
With Chan out for four weeks due to a fractured left thumb, Croatian import Bruno Sundov and Ryan Arana picked up the scoring slack by unloading 20 points while Paul Lee and Beau Belga hit three-pointers to spark the Elasto Painters' late breakaway.
That telling run turned a 74-79 Rain or Shine deficit into a 91-79 advantage late in a game that until then had seen 11 deadlocks and 11 lead changes.
Lee buried a go-ahead three-pointer off a screen from Belga for an 82-79 lead with three minutes and 26 seconds to play in the fourth. Lee then returned the compliment by setting up Belga for a triple of his own with 2:40 left that knocked the fight out of the Bolts.
Meralco import Eric Dawson had 23 points but only eight in the second half. Mark Cardona was the other Bolt in double figures with 21 points.
Dawson ended an 8-0 run that hiked Meralco’s lead to 79-74 with 5:43 left in the game but the Bolts made just one field goal the rest of the way on Rey Guevarra’s lay-up with 17.9 seconds remaining, when the outcome of the game had already been settled.
The Elasto Painters bounced back from a controversial loss to Alaska in a game that saw a ‘non-call’ leading to a game-winning basket by Cyrus Baguio. They improved to 1-1 while the Bolts slipped to 1-2.
Rain or Shine (91) – Sundov 20, Arana 20, Norwood 10, Lee 9, Matias 9, Belga 7, Cruz 5, Tiu 4, Ibanes 0, Rodriguez 0.
Meralco (82) – Dawson 23, Cardona 21, Guevarra 8, Reyes 6, Ross 6, Buenafe 6, Manuel 6, Hodge 2, Sharma 2, Hugnatan 2, Artadi 0.
Quarterscores: 22-23; 43-45; 66-65; 91-82.