PBA: Meralco squanders 26-point lead, survives Rain or Shine
Meralco blew a seemingly insurmountable lead before salvaging a squeaker over Rain or Shine, 98-95, in the 2-16 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Wednesday night at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Bolts improved to 3-0 but not after losing a 26-point lead and surviving a scare from the Elasto Painters, who played without their import Wayne Chism in the second half due to an apparent left hamstring injury.
“Oh boy,” said Meralco head coach Norman Black as he entered the press room for the post-game interview. “I’ll be quite honest and frank with you. Coming off a 1-10 conference, I’ll take any victory I can get and I’m happy that we’re 3-0.”
“Obviously it was very difficult for us when they went all-Filipino. They started making their outside shots and we did a poor job of guarding their perimeter. But at the same time, a win is a win and at the end of the day, four teams get eliminated and I just don’t want us to be one of those teams,” Black added.
Meralco was still ahead, 61-38, at the 11:06 mark of the third quarter when Chism went down.
Ironically, Rain or Shine got into its groove and started hitting its shots when Chism got injured and had to be taken to a hospital to get checked.
The Painters went 6-of-10 from downtown in the third quarter and entered the fourth period having tied the game at 76. They had several chances to take the lead including the last 12.6 seconds of the game but JR Quiñahan did Meralco a favor by misfiring on a wide-open 3-pointer before missing another triple that would’ve sent the game into overtime as time ran out.
Arinze Onuaku scored 31 points on 11-of-18 shooting from the field and grabbed 27 rebounds while Jared Dillinger added 16, including a free throw that gave the Bolts a three-point lead with 2.7 ticks left.
Rookie Maverick Ahanmisi registered a career-high 19 points on top of six rebounds while Jericho Cruz and JR Quinahan had 15 points apiece for ROS, which slipped to 1-1. Chism only had three points and four rebounds before leaving the game.
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