Painters get shot at No. 1
Rain or Shine got the job done the hard way against also-ran Meralco, rallying for a 97-87 victory before getting a shot at No. 1 seeding in the Smart Bro-PBA Philippine Cup playoffs courtesy of Alaska on Wednesday night at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Raymond Almazan notched career-highs in points with 21 and rebounds with 17 and Jeff Chan tossed in 24 for the Elasto Painters, who rose to 8-2 and tied Alaska for second after the Aces chopped down San Miguel Beer, 103-97, in the nightcap.
“We had to bleed for this one, which is a really big game for us,” said Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao. “We have one game to go, that’s going to be a playoff game for us.”
That game, which will mean top seeding for the Elasto Painters with a win, will happen on Saturday with Alaska actually shooting for a playoff for No. 2 earlier when it clashes with NLEX also at the Big Dome in Cubao.
Victories by Rain or Shine and Alaska would mean a three-way tie for the lead at 9-2, and in that case, the Painters would bag top ranking via a better quotient.
San Miguel and Alaska would then go at it one more time in a single game playoff for No. 2 and the second automatic Final Four berth.
Alaska put to naught a monster game by reigning two-time MVP June Mar Fajardo, who finished with a career-high 43 points and 19 rebounds.
RAIN OR SHINE 97—Chan 24, Almazan 21, Cruz 13, Belga 9, Norwood 8, Quiñahan 5, Ahanmisi 4, Ponferada 4, Teng 3, Ibañes 2, Matias 2, Trollano 2, Tiu 0.
MERALCO 87—Dillinger 15, Amer 13, Newsome 12, Alapag 10, Nabong 9, Hodge 8, Hugnatan 8, Buenafe 7, Al-Hussaini 5, David 0, Faundo 0.
Quarters: 23-22, 42-49, 67-66, 97-87
ALASKA 103—Thoss 18, Abueva 17, Banchero 17, Manuel 12, Baguio 10, Jazul 9, Menk 6, Casio 5, Baclao 2, Dela Cruz 2, Dela Rosa 2, Exciminiano 2, Eman 1, Hontiveros 0.
SAN MIGUEL BEER 97—Fajardo 43, Cabagnot 19, Santos 10, Lutz 8, Tubid 6, Espinas 5, Heruela 2, Omolon 2, Ross 2, Arana 0, De Ocampo 0, Lassiter 0, Reyes 0.
Quarters: 16-19, 40-37, 74-64, 103-97