JR Quinahan drained a cold-blooded three-point shot with seven-tenths of a second to go to carry Rain or Shine to an 89-86 victory over Meralco and keep its hopes for a top-two finish alive in the PLDT myDSL-PBA Philippine Cup on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The 6-5 Quinahan, who missed his first three tries from beyond the arc, made his last attempt from beyond the arc under the most difficult circumstances, catching the inbounds pass from Gabe Norwood then making a quick release triple with Gary David on his face.
A video review later confirmed that Quinahan's trey came just in the nick of time, sealing Rain or Shine’s sixth straight win that moved the Painters to solo second place - half a game ahead of Petron in their race for a twice-to-beat advantage in the playoffs.
The shot also put to naught the late-game heroics of Meralco's Gary David, who scored five points in the final 20 seconds including a 25-foot three-pointer that knotted the count at 86-all with 8.6 seconds remaining.
Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao mapped out a play that had Paul Lee attempting a three-pointer from deep the corner, which went awry. Meralco guard John Wilson caught the loose ball but lost it quickly from the sidelines with less than a second left, setting up Quinahan for the endgame heroics.
“It’s tough playing Meralco because the first time we played them, it also boiled down to the endgame,” said a relieved Guiao after the game. “Again, we’re lucky, we’re riding a streak of good luck.”
It was a sorry loss for the Bolts, who fought the E-Painters in a close game marked by 13 deadlocks and 10 lead changes behind the hot hands of David.
The loss dropped Meralco to 5-8 in a share of sixth to eighth spots with idle Barako Bull and Globalport with one game left in its schedule against Petron Blaze on Saturday.
A win by Meralco this weekend formalizes the team’s entry into the quarterfinals.
Jeff Chan led Rain or Shine with 16 points, while Paul Lee and Norwood added 14 and 10 apiece.
Quinahan, who scored 16 markers in the team’s 90-88 win over Talk ‘N Text last weekend, finished with just five points, but added five boards, two assists, two steals and two blocks.
David led the Bolts with 25 points, marking the third straight game the two-time scoring champion has scored 20 or more points.
RAIN OR SHINE 89 - Chan 16, Lee 14, Norwood 10, Cruz 8, Belga 7, Almazan 7, Ibanes 7, Rodriguez 6, Quinahan 5, Nuyles 4, Teng 3, Tiu 2, Arana 0, Tang 0.
MERALCO 86 - David 25, Wilson 12, Hugnatan 11, Dillinger 11, Salvacion 8, Artadi 6, Al-Hussaini 5, Ildefonso 4, Hodge 4, Guevarra 0.
Quarterscores: 23-21, 45-45, 70-64, 89-86