Rain or Shine books finals berth after sweep of depleted Meralco | Inquirer Sports

Rain or Shine books finals berth after sweep of depleted Meralco

By: - Reporter / @MarkGiongcoINQ
/ 09:25 PM April 07, 2015

Paul Lee puts up a shot against Reynel Hugnatan. PBA Images

Paul Lee puts up a shot against Reynel Hugnatan. PBA Images

The Elasto Painters booked their third Finals appearance in five conferences but not after recovering late in the second half where they reestablished a double-digit lead.

Rain or Shine blew an early 19-point lead before getting back its rhythm led by Paul Lee. The 25-year-old Lee started the Painters’ charge – scoring nine of his game-high 23 points in the first quarter – and he also keyed in a run in the pivotal third quarter with nine points.

“We got a really big break with their import not being able to play,” said ROS head coach Yeng Guiao. “It’s just too bad. They really had a chance in this series and the scores don’t reflect how difficult this series was for us.”

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The Bolts, who are already without their key player Jared Dillinger (knee), played minus their import Josh Davis due to a left shoulder injury.

READ: Meralco import Davis misses PBA semis game 3 due to shoulder injury

Cliff Hodge and veteran sharpshooter Mark Macapagal scored 20 points each for Meralco, which showed its character by battling back despite playing with all locals.

After canning in 19 3-pointers in a 92-82 win in Game 2 last Sunday, the Painters still had the hot hand – making 11 triples – despite the absence of their best long distance shooter in Jeff Chan.

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Beau Belga buried the dagger triple and pushed Rain or Shine’s lead back to 13, 107-94, with 3:01 left. Chan missed his second straight game due to a foot injury.

With the sweep, the Painters earned themselves a week break before plunging into a best-of-seven showdown with either defending champion Purefoods or No. 2 Talk ‘N Text.

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“This is an accomplishment, an improvement to what we’ve done last year. Now we just have to wait and prepare for the result of the other series but having finished the series earlier I think those extra three to four days of rest will be very helpful going into the Finals,” Guiao said.

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TAGS: Basketball, Commissioner's Cup, Meralco Bolts, Paul Lee, PBA, Rain or Shine Elastopainters, Sports

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