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Rain Or Shine seals quarterfinal bonus with comeback win against Meralco

By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY--Rain Or Shine rallied from 12 points down to smother Meralco, 96-89, to clinch the third twice-to-beat advantage in the PBA Governors' Cup quarterfinals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Sunday night.

The Elasto Painters started out flat against the Bolts, trailing 17-30 late in the first quarter and 44-56 in the final stages of the second quarter as they felt the absence of Gabe Norwood, who attended his brother's wedding.

Their other key defender, Jireh Ibañes, also had a hard time guarding Andre Emmett, and things got worse when Ibañes was shown the exits after getting a flagrant foul penalty 2 for a hard hit on the Bolts' import.

Paul Lee and Wendell McKines then began to sizzle, leading a third quarter run that pushed Rain Or Shine to a 70-68 lead.

Both teams went toe-to-toe in the early goings of the fourth quarter before a 9-0 run opened an 11-point Elasto Painters lead, 89-78, with 2:12 remaining in the game. They maintained the double-digit advantage with a minute left in the match.

The Bolts had one final push as they scored five straight points, but Jeff Chan sealed the win with a layup for the final count.

McKines finished with 26 points, 12 rebounds, three assists, and two blocks for Rain Or Shine, which finished the elimination round with six straight wins after a dismal 1-4 start.

Emmett scored a game-high 33 markers with 13 boards, six dimes and four steals for Meralco, which lost a chance to nail the playoff incentive. The loss plus Star's earlier win against Barako Bull made a five-way tie for the last three quarterfinal spots possible.

Box Scores:

Rain Or Shine 96-McKines 26, Chan 14, Lee 12, Ibañes 10, Belga 9, Tiu 6, Jerv. Cruz 6, Jeri. Cruz 5, Almazan 4, Uyloan 2, Araña 2, Quiñahan 0

Meralco 89-Emmett 33, David 14, Dillinger 12, Hodge 7, Ando 6, Hugnatan 6, Cortez 5, Ildefonso 4, Nabong 2, Anthony 0, Caram 0

Quarterscores: 21-30, 46-56, 70-68, 96-89