RAIN or Shine decked Meralco with dizzying offensive anchored on three gunners, 106-99, to clinch the playoffs top seeding in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Reggie Johnson, Chris Tiu and Ed Daquioag made the plays that mattered most in the extension as the Elasto Painters secured the win they almost allowed to slip their hands in regulation.
Johnson greeted the extension with a booming triple and canned in two freethrows to give the RoS a 101-98 lead. Tiu followed suit with two split charities, before Daquioag struck for a dagger of triple as RoS stormed to a 106-99 lead with only 12.7 seconds left in the game.
The Bolts, for all their admirable ability to rally from 13-point halftime deficit, failed miserably both in the latter part of regulation and in the extension of the game rich in highlight plays.
The Elasto Painters notched their ninth win in 10 outings. This means it will have the luxury of having to win only once in the quarterfinal round against number 8 team – whichever will become at the end of the regular elimination.
Johnson finished with 21 points and 18 rebounds, including that triple at the onset of the extension, in another yeoman job for the Painters.
Maverick Ahanmisi was easily the most consistent among the locals after finishing with 20 points, eight rebounds and six assists for the Painters who led at the half, 64-51.
Tiu finished with 13 points and Daquioag 11.
The Bolts had plenty of chances in the regulation to shatter the 96-all standoff forged by Meralco through Baser Amer’s layup with 2:25 remaining.
However, Ranidel De Ocampo muffed an open shot while Amer misfired two straight attempts at the basket, including a baseline floater with 32 seconds remaining in regulation.
The Bolts’ chances did not end there, as the Painters committed a turnover in the last 12.6 seconds. The Bolts gained ball possession but were too unfortunate as they failed to score, the count remaining at 96-all at the buzzer.
Newsome, Arinze Onuaku, Amer and De Ocampo scored in double digits but couldn’t help the Bolts, who fell to 7-4 which still good for fourth place.
Rain or Shine (106) – Johnson 21, Ahanmisi 20, Tiu 13, Daquioag 11, Almazan 9, Norwood 9, Yap 7, Belga 5, Nambatac 5, Ponferada 4, Casiño 2, Torres 0, Washington 0.
Meralco (99) – Newsome 21, Onuaku 20, Amer 19, De Ocampo 10, Canaeta 9, Hodge 7, Caram 4, Lanete 3, Dillinger 3, Tolomia 3.
Quarters: 28-27, 64-51, 84-81, 96-96, 106-99