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    Rain or Shine back in the groove as unforgiving defense clamps down on Meralco, ailing Brian Butch

    Mar 26, 2014
    Rain or Shine import Alex McLean goes for a shot against Meralco's Cliff Hodge. Dante Peralta

    RAIN or Shine unleashed a crippling 13-0 windup in the final three minutes while forcing Meralco to three turnovers as the Elasto Painters ended a two-game skid with a 96-79 victory in their PBA Commissioner’s Cup match on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

    The Elasto Painters dominated the game from the second quarter onwards, relying on their rugged defense that prevented ailing Bolts import Brian Butch from getting his points from the perimeter.

    With the 6-9 Butch held down to a PBA career-low 11 points on a woeful 4-of-14 shooting, the Elasto Painters erected leads of as much as 15 points early in the final period.

    After a 16-6 run engineered by Jared Dillinger, Cliff Hodge and Gary David that gave Meralco some sign of life, the last three minutes were completely owned by Rain or Shine as its defense completely disrupted the Bolts’ offensive flow from thereon.

    “The days we played defense, we win games, and this is one of the rare days we play our defense,” said Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao after seeing his team hold down the Bolts to just 38.5 percent shooting.

    The fiery Rain or Shine mentor was also happy that his team, which was averaging more than 18 turnovers during their two-game slide, committed just 11 turnovers against Meralco.

    “We’ve also had problems with our turnovers the past few games, but I think we managed to trim our turnovers down in this game,” he added, whose team improved to 2-3.

    The Bolts fell to 3-3 overall but retained their position in fourth spot in the standings.

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    Guiao said by Thursday noon, the coaching staff along with management will make the final decision on whether to replace import Alex McLean, who had 23 points and 16 rebounds against the Bolts.

    “We will talk about McLean’s status tomorrow. We have our options open. But our next game is on Monday, so we need to decide by tomorrow in practice what we wanted to do,” explained Guiao.

    The fiery Elasto Painters mentor said their main consideration is whether McLean is capable of taking them deep in the playoffs, given the shaky start they had with him as their import this conference.

    “He (McLean) really played today, though the question is can he be consistent and take us to the playoffs and how is he compared to the rest of the imports,” he added.

    McLean’s possible replacement, Wayne Chism, a former University of Tennessee standout who was Barako Bull's first choice as import, can fly in to Manila anytime, according to Guiao.

    On the other hand, Butch played just a total of 11 minutes in the second half, and 30 minutes overall in the game, as he suffered what appeared like a bum stomach.

    Former NBA veteran Darnell Jackson, who has been in town since early last week, could be coming in to replace Butch, who prior to the Rain or Shine game, averaged 30.8 points, 22.6 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per contest.

    The scores:

    Rain or Shine 96 - Mclean 23, Chan 21, Lee 16, Norwood 13, Belga 7, Cruz 6, Arana 2, Almazan 2, Tiu 2, Ibanes 2, Rodriguez 2, Tang 0, Nuyles 0, Teng 0.

    Meralco 79 - David 20, Dillinger 14, Hodge 12, Butch 11, Hugnatan 7, Artadi 4, Ildefonso 2, Sena 2, Guevarra 2, Wilson 2, Mandani 2, Al-Hussaini 1, Caram 0, Salvacion 0.

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    Quarterscores: 23-17; 44-33, 72-60, 96-79.

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    Rain or Shine import Alex McLean goes for a shot against Meralco's Cliff Hodge. Dante Peralta
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