24 April 2014

Bolts 93, Elasto Painters 102

Reynel Hugnatan
Don't say I didn't warn you guys. The spirit haunting the Meralco Bolts in the past two years is back. After winning Game 1, the Bolts played with the same intensity, but with little less direction.

The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters took advantage of headless chicken and asserted their might last 23 April 2014 to whip the Bolts, 102-93, and force a deciding Game Three in their PLDT Home TVolution PBA Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinals showdown at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Rain or Shine set the pace almost throughout, establishing a big lead right in the second quarter then hardly slowing down to stay in the hunt for a second straight Finals appearance.

"We just wanted to come back strong. We focused on defense in this game. Our offense was just secondary. Our energy on defense rubbed off on offense," said Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao.

"The break we had Tuesday gave us more time to prepare tonight, unlike the last time when we played them the day after our last game in the eliminations," Guiao also said.

The E-Painters held their ground in a rugged, physical battle marked by 30 fouls called on each team.

In the end, the fiery RoS mentor confronted Cliff Hodge on what he felt was a grievous foul the Meralco player threw on Raymond Alzaman.

"Cliff Hodge is a person who’s been hurting a lot of players. In the last play, he threw a closed fist in the face of Almazan," said Guiao.

"Okay lang sa amin ang physicality because that’s our game. But what Hodge did has no place in this league. It's something that needs the attention of the league," Guiao added.

Wayne Chism rebounded strong from his game the last time, coming through with 26 points, seven rebounds, six blocks and five steals. And Ryan Arana, Gabe Norwood, Jervy Cruz and TY Tang also produced double-digit numbers for the E-Painters.

Hurting his left knee in a strong collision with Hodge late in the second quarter, Paul Lee headed to the locker room ahead of the rest for the halftime break. But Lee shook off the pain and returned to play in the second half.

In the third quarter, Jared Dillinger left their bench, never to return due to a back injury suffered after a hard foul on Chism.

Lee knocked in crucial charities to ward off a Sunday Salvacion-led Meralco chase at endgame.

The Bolts rallied from 20 points down, coming to within five, 88-93, on a fourth-quarter attack fuelled by five three-pointers by Salvacion.

But there’s Lee to keep RoS’s head above waters at the finish.

The RoS second group gave a good job in the second quarter, pushing the tempo and pushing up their 22-18 point first-quarter lead to 49-34 at the half.

Tang, Norwood and Chris Tiu drained a triple each and combined for a total of 18 points as the Elasto Painters started to pull away in the second period.

Tiu and Norwood put in more effort as the E-Painters built a pair of 20-point spreads in the third quarter.

A split from the line by Tiu gave Rain or Shine its first 20-point bulge at 57-37. Then after Meralco made a mini run, Norwood stole and got away with a breakaway jam before banging away a trey as the E-Painters took another 20-point advantage at 69-49. (SB)

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