16 January 2014

Bolts 86, Elasto Painters 89

JR Quinahan
JR Quinahan has never been known to be a quick-release kind of player. But Wednesday he became one and Rain or Shine was all the better because of it.

Quinahan buried a three-point shot at the buzzer to lift the Elasto Painters to a thrilling 89-86 victory over Meralco and tantalizingly closer to a top two finish in the PLDT myDSL PBA Philippine Cup eliminations at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

"Automatic reaction na lang siguro, kasi 0.7 second na lang," said Quinahan, known more for setting up his shots, especially ones from beyond the arc.

The shot came on the heels of a similar clutch triple by Gary David that tied the count at 86, with just 8.6 seconds left.

Quinahan's shot was bigger, coming as it did following a baseline miss by Paul Lee, and the first-ever game-winner by the center-forward who finished with just five points and went 0-for-3 from three-point land before the game’s final shot.

"Alam ko kasi quick release si JR, eh," half-joked Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao, who drew up a final play primarily designed for the likes of Jeff Chan, Lee and even Beau Belga.

Quinahan was initially assigned to provide a pick for Lee, but, after seeing all their other gunners covered by the Bolts' switching defense, stepped out and received the inbound pass from Gabe Norwood and threw up the shot against David’s scrambling defense.

In the end, the E-Painters notched their franchise-best sixth straight win and 10th in 13 games in all, putting them at second-running spot.

"We’re just taking this momentum to where it's going to take us," said Guiao, whose team has previously gone on five-game winning streaks but not this long.

"We are on a six-game winning streak," he added. "There's some pressure there but we tried to just put that at the back of our heads and keep on going."

Relegated into a tie for sixth to eighth with Barako Bull and GlobalPort was Meralco after it absorbed its eighth loss in 13 games and second defeat via a buzzer-beating triple. The first lightning was hurled by Japeth Aguilar and Barangay Ginebra last Dec. 28.

Chan wound up with 16 points to pace Rain or Shine, which also drew 14 points from Paul Lee and 10 from Norwood.

David scored a game-high 25 points while Reynel Hugnatan and Jared Dillinger had identical double-doubles of 11 points and 11 rebounds, but they still couldn’t avenge their 89-94 loss to Rain or Shine the first time they met when the Bolts led by two with 48.6 ticks remaining.

As in their first meeting, Wednesday’s game was just as tight as it featured a total 13 ties and 10 lead changes.

"It's always tough playing Meralco," admitted Guiao. "The first time it also boiled down to the endgame. We're plain lucky and we’re riding this streak of good luck. Also, I just felt that one good shot, or great shot, deserves another." (NC)

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