18 April 2013

Bolts 118, E-Painters 116

Bolts vs E-Painters
Eric Dawson would not let an injury deter him from his goal, which is to lead Meralco to a much-needed win.

And Dawson succeeded, putting up another monster game to lead the Bolts over Rain or Shine, 118-116, Wednesday (17 April 2013) that gave them the desired placing in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The former San Antonio Spur finished with 50 points to go with 14 rebounds, four assists and five steals despite hurting his left knee during a strong drive to the basket in the last two minutes of the extension.

Still, he came up with a short stab that gave the Bolts a 116-115 edge before Macmac Cardona added a floater, still 56.4 seconds to go.

"In tonight's game it was really Dawson who towed us to victory. With just one leg and all, he still made a crucial basket to secure our victory," said Meralco head coach Ryan Gregorio.

"The only thing I heard from him was, 'I'm gonna finish this game, 'I'm gonna finish this game.' It's a great character win for us. But more than that it's really an inspiration to have a player like Dawson," he added.

Rain or Shine could have at least tied the game in its final thrust inside the last 7.2 seconds, but Beau Belga’s challenged three-point shot just before the buzzer fell short.

As a result, Meralco wound up the 14-game elimination round with an even 7-7 slate that tied it with Barangay Ginebra and either Talk N Text or Petron Blaze, which were playing later in the evening.

Due to a higher quotient than the Kings, the Bolts take the No. 6 spot and arranged a best-of-three series with defending champion and No. 3 seed San Mig Coffee starting Friday also at the Big Dome.

"It's an important win for us because it primed ourselves up for an opportunity (to make the semifinals) via a best-of-three," said Gregorio.

The loss, its fifth against nine wins, hardly mattered for Rain or Shine as it has long been assured of the No. 2 seeding and a win-once advantage against, as it turns out, Barangay Ginebra in the ensuing round.

Yet the Elasto Painters gamely fought on, bucking the early ejection of head coach Yeng Guiao and a 19-point deficit in the second quarter to make a close game of it.

"My hats off to Rain or Shine," said Gregorio. "Even if nothing's at stake for them they really fought us and gave us a hard time."
Barangay Ginebra may have a surprise waiting for Rain or Shine.

Papers relating to a trade sending Keith Jensen and a 2015 second pick to Barako Bull for Josh Urbiztondo have already been forwarded to the league offices late Wednesday afternoon.

The deadline for any trade involving lineup changes for the playoffs is 5 p.m. Thursday.

Bruno Sundov scored 31 points and a game-high 19 rebounds to lead Rain or Shine and Jeff Chan had a personal conference-high 18 points but it was the likes of Gabe Norwood, Paul Lee who provided chief support when the E-Painters came surging back from as much as a 33-52 deficit to tie the game up for the first time at 91, still 8:12 to go in regulation.

That makes the fightback notable is the fact it was fashioned despite Guiao getting thrown out with still 2:54 left in the first quarter and his team behind by just 26-21. Vehemently protesting a non-call on a driving Ryan Arana he got an automatic ejection for flagrant misconduct.

The E-Painters even took a 110-108 lead into the last 1:03 of regulation, but Dawson quickly countered with an undergoal stab and the tie held when the two exchanged misses and turnovers.

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