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Meralco Bolts 86
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RAIN OR SHINE TAKES GAME 1

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It might be Holy Week, but abstaining from its winning ways is not in Rain or Shine’s schedule.

The Elasto Painters ran Meralco to the ground as they took Game 1 of their best-of-five semifinals series, 99-86, in the 2015 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Tuesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

“We just broke away in the fourth quarter,” said Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao. “They kept close for three quarters and it’s our experience that gave us that advantage, being able to finish this game.”

Outscoring the Bolts, 25-15 in the payoff period, it was an all-around effort once again for the top-seed E-Painters.

Slow to get himself going in the first half, Wayne Chism got his touches in the final two quarters where he unloaded 14 of his team-high 18 points, to go with 14 rebounds, three assists, and three blocks.

“Wayne was not getting enough touches in the first half, but we tried to find a way to get him the ball in the second half,” Guiao said, as Paul Lee also added 14 markers in the winning effort.

The Rain or Shine freak train was in full swing on Tuesday, as the E-Painters outscored Meralco, 26-2 in fastbreak points, and also dominated them in the paint, 50-30.

Still trying to score in the final moments, Guiao said, “We had to work hard for the quotient,” stopping himself in mid-sentence before realizing, “Wala na bang quotient?”

The fiery Kapampangan coach had the luxury to hurl a joke as he and his wards go on a five-day Holy Week break owning a 1-0 edge before springing back to action on Easter Sunday.

“All that experience showed in the fourth, but it’s just the first game. It’s a good thing to be at the advantage but it’s far from over,” he said.

All but one of the 15 players Guiao fielded in managed to score at least two points, with the lone scoreless man being Jeff Chan who only played for five minutes.

“Jeff is not 100 percent. I had to take him out in the second quarter because he was feeling some pain in his legs,” said Guiao.

Aside from a possible injury on Chan, Guiao is also wary of the extended break, as it would allow coach Norman Black to plot ways to equalize the series once Game 2 rolls on.

“We have a long break before Sunday and they can make the adjustments they need to make. That’s enough time for them to prepare,” Guiao said. “Those are the factors that can become the determining factors in this series. But it’s a good thing that we were able to gain our momentum offense-wise.”

Gary David finished with 14 points for Meralco, as Cliff Hodge and Sean Anthony both got 13.

Josh Davis was able to get his usual double-double of 11 points and 15 rebounds. However, turnovers doomed the Bolts as Rain or Shine got 22 points off of their 18 turnovers, against  just nine for Meralco. (RL)

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