Painters get back on top; Bolts finally nail first victory | Inquirer Sports

Painters get back on top; Bolts finally nail first victory

By: - Reporter / @MusongINQ
/ 02:30 AM November 22, 2015

RAIN or Shine dusted off Blackwater in the second half and got back to occupying a familiar place, with a 103-81 victory giving the Elasto Painters a tie for the lead in the Smart Bro-PBA Philippine Cup eliminations at Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay.

Jericho Cruz, the hard-nosed sophomore out of Adamson, dropped 23 points and four others tossed in 11 or better for the Painters, who climbed into a tie with idle defending champion San Miguel Beer and Alaska at the top with a 4-1 card.

Impressive for the first time in the young season was Meralco later in the night after clipping Star, 87-83, to finally barge into the win column after six games.

Gary David, a former two-time scoring champion, hit the Bolts’ final eight points and the Meralco defense helped preserve the win despite going scoreless in the final 2:25.

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“We just didn’t want to take this team (Blackwater) for granted,” Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao said. “Jericho (Cruz) simply had one hell of a game.”

Rookie Art dela Cruz scored 15 points and JP Erram 14 for the Elite, who dropped to 1-5, now in a tie with the Bolts.

Meralco displayed fiercer form compared to its previous five games, engaging the Hotshots in a running, physical game and finally holding it together to the relief of coach Norman Black.

“I’m happy to be here [in the press room for the winning coach’s interview] for the first time,” Black said with a smile. “I am happy that my players focused on defense tonight and limited our mistakes on the defensive end.”

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David completed a fastbreak with a twisting layup off the glass that made it 87-79 going into the final 2:25 and the Bolts had to turn to their defense to seal the deal after forcing the Hotshots to take bad shots.

David finished with 26 points, just three under his average in the last two Meralco losses.

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Meanwhile, San Miguel Beer tries to wriggle out of that three-team jam at the top when the defending champion face dangerous Barako Bull today at Ynares Center in Antipolo.

Game time is 3 p.m.

In the 5:15 p.m. contest, crowd-darling Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings clash with the Mahindra Enforcers.

The scores:

First Game

RAIN OR SHINE 103—Cruz 23, Ponferada 15, Belga 12, Quinahan 11, Ahanmisi 8, Almazan 8, Teng 6, Tiu 6, Matias 5, Nimes 4, Chan 3, Trollano 2, Ibanes 0, Norwood 0.

BLACKWATER 81—Dela Cruz 15, Erram 14, Cervantes 9, Lastimosa 7, Gamalinda 6, Melano 6, Cortez 5, Ballesteros 4, Golla 4, Reyes 4, Sena 3, Agovida 2, Vosotros 2, Canada 0.

Quarters: 25-16, 47-39, 80-61, 103-81.

Second Game

MERALCO 87—David 26, Al-Hussaini 12, Hugnatan 10, Nabong 9, Newsome 8, Dillinger 6, Hodge 6, Atkins 5, Faundo 5, Amer 0.

STAR 83—Yap 26, Pingris 13, Sangalang 9, Taha 9, Mallari 8, Simon 8, Barroca 3, Maliksi 3, Melton 2, Pascual J. 2, Pascual R. 0, Torres 0.

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Quarters: 21-24, 43-44, 69-69, 87-83

TAGS: Basketball, Meralco, PBA, Rain or Shine, Sports

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