AS he buried a contested shot-clock-beating three-pointer that kissed the glass off the inbound halfway through the fourth quarter, Paul Lee flashed a smirk as he ran back on defense, himself surprised to see the shot go in.
It was that kind of a night for the Elasto Painters, who outgunned the Meralco Bolts, 92-82, in Game Two of their PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinal series to take a commanding 2-0 lead on Easter Sunday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Lee hit five triples, Jericho Cruz and Jonathan Uyloan added three each, and seven other teammates were also on target from beyond the arc as the Painters waxed hot without their best shooter on the way to moving on the verge of clinching a berth in the finals.
In all, the Painters, missing injured Jeff Chan, made a league season-high 19 triples out of 38 attempts for an efficient 50-percent clip.
“We knew Meralco would come out with better energy. It just so happened that we were making our outside shots,” Painters coach Yeng Guiao said. “They took the risk of double-teaming Wayne Chism and that opened up our shooters.”
The Bolts limited Chism to 11 points on just 4-of-9 shooting in 39 minutes, but failed to put the clamps on the locals, especially in a telling third-quarter rally that turned the game around for the Painters.
Trailing by three at the half, ROS heated up in the third canto, shooting an impressive 8-of-11 clip from beyond the arc to outscore the Bolts, 32-14, in an 18-point turnaround that enabled the Painters to gain the upper hand for good.
ROS sustained the hot shooting in the payoff period as their lead extended to 18 points and never allowed the Bolts to come closer than seven points.
RAIN OR SHINE 92 – Lee 23, Cruz Jericho 15, Chism 11, Tiu 10, Uyloan 9, Belga 7, Quinahan 6, Norwood 5, Ibanes 3, Tang 3, Teng 0, Arana 0, Cruz Jervy 0, Almazan 0
MERALCO 82 - Davis 25, David 17, Hugnatan 12, Wilson 7, Cortez 6, Caram 5, Hodge 2, Anthony 2, Ildefonso 2, Sena 2, Ferriols 2, Macapagal 0
Quarterscores: 16-27, 44-47, 76-61, 92-82