MANILA, Philippines – Rain or Shine refused to surrender on its playoff hopes after cooling down red-hot Meralco, 83-81, in the 2019 PBA Governors' Cup at the Araneta Coliseum on Sunday, November 17.
Led by import Richard Ross and Rey Nambatac, the Elasto Painters erased a 13-point deficit and held on in crunch time as they finished the elimination round at 4-7 and put an end to the Bolts' five-game win streak.
Ross finished with 26 points, 12 rebounds, and 2 blocks, while Nambatac churned out 24 points, including the floating jump shot that gave Rain or Shine an 82-77 advantage with less than two minutes remaining.
Meralco, though, did not succumb to the pressure and narrowed the gap to a whisker behind with 4 straight points from import Allen Durham and Raymond Almazan.
Jewel Ponferada splitting his free throws for the Elasto Painters left the comeback door ajar for the other side, but the Bolts could not seize the golden opportunity as Almazan missed the potential game-winning layup.
Despite the win, Rain or Shine will still rely on the results of other teams' games in order to at least secure a playoff for the last quarterfinals spot, needing NorthPort (4-6) and Alaska (4-6) to drop their matches.
Ping Exciminiano delivered 8 points and 6 assists in the win as Ponferada, Gabe Norwood, and Javee Mocon conjoined for 12 points.
Durham was his usual self for Meralco with 23 points, 16 rebounds, and 2 blocks, but the Bolts fizzled out in the final quarter after tasting their biggest lead at 67-54.
Almazan saw his 18-point and 19-rebound performance go down the drain as the Bolts enter the elimination round off a loss with an 8-3 record, while Baser Amer chalked up 18 points on 5 three-pointers.
Meralco has yet to determine its quarterfinals placing as it awaits the results of the last elimination round games of NLEX (8-2) and TNT (7-3).
Rain or Shine 83 - Ross 26, Nambatac 24, Exciminiano 8, Borboran 4, Ponferada 4, Mocon 4, Norwood 4, Rosales 3, Torres 3, Belga 3, Daquioag 0.
Meralco 81 - Durham 23, Amer 18, Almazan 18, Newsome 12, Quinto 6, Pinto 2, Caram 2, Faundo 0, Hodge 0, Salva 0.
Quarters: 23-21, 41-42, 60-69, 83-81.
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.