Painters shut down B-Boys
COACH Yeng Guiao wore a handsome smile when he stepped into the press room last night, and it was quite understandable for two big reasons.
“I am happy with the way we are handling pressure,” Guiao said, moments after Rain or Shine eked out an 81-77 decision of seasoned Meralco that gave his Elasto Painters a playoff berth in the PBA Governors’ Cup at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“Our guys are maturing and we are able to close out the hard games, the close games,” Guiao added, after his squad rose to 5-1 overall to again claim a tie for the lead with idle
B-Meg. “Although this is a very young team, in a way, they are playing like veterans.”
Jamelle Cornley scored 21 points and had 10 rebounds, and super rookie Paul Lee dropped 16, including the go-ahead charities with 37.6 seconds left as Rain or Shine dealt the B-Boys their fourth loss in six games.
“We can release some of the pressure (after making the playoffs),” Guiao said. “(But if we) want to contend in the semifinals, every game is going to be very important.”
Meralco was in the lead for the last time at 77-76 after Sol Mercado drained a daredevil running jumper under heavy pressure with 48 seconds to go, with Lee one of those he mocked for the basket.
Lee responded in kind and took it hard to the basket off Mercado in the next Rain or Shine offensive, drawing a foul from the Meralco ace. He calmly drained both free throws to give the Painters the lead for good.
“Paul Lee is giving us the leadership and control that we need from a point guard in the endgame,” Guiao said of his prized neophyte.
But Rain or Shine shut him down when it mattered, forcing West to commit errors and miss critical shots in the stretch, partly aiding the Meralco downfall.
Meanwhile, the tournament goes on the road again today when Talk ‘N Text tries to arrest a two-game slide and battles Alaska in a Phoenix Fuel-presented road game at the Mindanao Civic Center in Tubod, Lanao del Norte.
RAIN OR SHINE 81—Cornely 21, Lee 16, Norwood 10, Cruz 6, Chan 6, Quinahan 6, Buenafe 6, Matias 4, Jaime 4, Ibanes 2, Tang 0, Belga 0.
MERALCO 77—West 23, Taulava 15, Cardona 12, Mercado 9, Bulawan 6, Hugnatan 6, Ross 3, Reyes 3, Macapagal 0.
Quarters: 18-17, 32-35, 59-59, 81-77
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