RAIN or Shine finished the elimination round on a high, snapping a two-game losing skid at the expense of Meralco, 88-85, on Friday night in the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome.
The Elastopainters ended the eliminations with an 8-3 (win-loss) card to strengthen their bid for a place in the top two - and twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinal match-ups.
Rain or Shine did just enough to secure the win, with Gabe Norwood and Beau Belga hitting crucial free throws that broke an 85-85 deadlock in the dying seconds before Meralco's Baser Amer missed a potential game-winning three.
“The players came up big when we needed them to come up big,” said Rain or Shine coach Caloy Garcia. “We were also lucky in the end, there was a miscommunication on defense. We were lucky that Baser didn’t hit the shot.
Since this is our last game, I hope we can carry that into the next round.”
James Yap scored 14 points while Ed Daquioag added 12 points for the Elastopainters, who also got 10 points each from Javee Mocon and Maverick Ahanmisi.
A lay-up by Mocon gave Rain or Shine an 83-79 lead with three minutes left, but Meralco bounced back to wrest the lead, 85-83, behind six straight points from Reynel Hugnatan.
Ahanmisi tied the game with a lay-up with 47.6 seconds on the clock, but Meralco was unable to respond.
With 7.4 seconds left, Norwood split his free throws but Beau Belga was able to fight off Hugnatan for the rebound before hitting one of two free throws for a two-point Rain or Shine lead.
Amer went for the win but missed a wide open three-point shot, leading to another Belga free throw to settle the final count.
Rain or Shine 88 – Yap 14, Daquioag 12, Mocon 10, Ahanmisi 10, Torres 9, Rosales 8, Nambatac 7, Borboran 6, Norwood 5, Belga 4, Ponferada 3.
Meralco 85 – Salva 18, Hugnatan 16, Faundo 10, Amer 10, Hodge 8, Jackson 7, Newsome 7, Canaleta 7, Quinto 2, Tolomia 0, Pinto 0.
Quarters: 20-26; 44-35; 66-65; 88-85.