Meralco Bolts import Darnell Jackson goes for a basket against Rain or Shine Elasto Painters' Wayne Chism. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNNews.com
MANILA, Philippines -- Darnell Jackson converted two tough, crucial baskets to complement a lock-down defense put up by Meralco down the stretch as the Bolts turned back the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, 94-91, in Game One of their PLDT Home TVolution PBA Commissioner's Cup best-of-three quarterfinal showdown at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Monday night.
Meralco held Rain or Shine scoreless in the last 3:03 of play and the Bolts completed the tough win with Jackson knocking down two step-back jumpers in the final minute.
“We took advantage of the fatigue factor. We pounced on our edge. When they were cramping, I told my import it’s got to be them that’s more tired. And he bailed us out with those big, big shots,” said Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio.
Jackson simply outlasted Wayne Chism who was playing long minutes for the second straight night.
As Chism hobbled at the finish, Jackson became more aggressive, getting the rebounds, diving for the loose balls and making the shots that sent the Bolts to the threshold of the Final Four.
“We’ve been in this situation before. We’re not able to close it out, but experience is always the best teacher,” said Gregorio. “With more intelligence and experience, hopefully we can make it this time.”
In the last two Commissioner’s Cup best-of-three quarters, Meralco also drew the decisive 1-0 edge only to bungle it in the end.
Jackson piled up 30 points and 15 rebounds with Gary David and Jared Dillinger also collecting huge numbers as the Bolts beat out the Elasto Painters in a battle marked by 13 deadlocks and 17 lead changes.
Chism stood his ground against Jackson until getting hurt in a collision with Cliff Hodge with 4:52 left to play. He missed two fouls shots and a jumper in the homestretch.
The Bolts surged ahead at 92-91 on Jackson’s first step-back shot off Jeff Chan with 1:06 to go.
Then as Paul Lee missed a tough drive, the Bolts again went to Jackson who nailed a longer pull-away jumper off Chism to make it 94-91 with 10.2 ticks left.
Meralco sealed the win as Cliff Hodge deflected a three-point try by Lee in the closing seconds.
Lee and Raymond Almazan came out strong off the bench as the Elasto Painters seized control then set the pace in the second quarter.
Lee came through with nine points, six rebounds and three assists while Almazan got away with seven boards and one dish-off as the E-Painters pummeled the Bolts, 25-19, in the second canto, twice leading by seven before taking the half at 44-40.