MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) – Rain or Shine outlasted Meralco in overtime, 97-96, in Game Three of their best-of-three playoffs to move forward to the PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals.
Wayne Chism carried the fight for the Elasto Painters, scoring almost at will with 37 points to go with his 21 boards.
"He just carried us on his shoulders. He’s a far more superior import than [Darnell] Jackson, and I think that’s our advantage," said Rain or Shine head coach Yeng Guiao in the PBA website. "It’s another grind-out game for us and we’re getting a lot of good games."
Paul Lee added 18 points, including a pair of free throws that held off the Bolts late in the game.
Meralco's Gary David was the biggest thorn in Rain or Shine's side as he sent the game into overtime with a baseline jumper 4 seconds left before regulation.
The Elasto Painters then unfurled a 10-2 exchange during the extension for a 95-87 advantage.
David threatened again with a pair of triples, but Lee's charities kept Rain or Shine afloat, 97-93, 5 seconds left in the game.
David canned another triple for Meralco, but it wasn't enough to save the Bolts.
David finished the game with 20 points, while Jackson had 31.
Prior to Meralco's loss, the quarter-final series was tied 1-all.
The win was a vindication of sorts for Guiao, who was slapped with a P100,000 fine for calling Meralco's Cliff Hodge a "mongoloid."
The name-calling was triggered by Hodge's rough play against the Elasto Painters' Raymond Almazan last Wednesday.
Guiao apologized for the comment, but remained critical against Hodge’s tactics.
He also noted that Jackson has become a defensive liability for Meralco, therefore allowing the Elasto Painters to take advantage of the import’s inadequacy.
"One thing we discovered after Game 1 which we lost is that their import couldn't play defense. We just attacked that weakness and exploited and we ran all our ball screens and pick-and-rolls on the import, and that’s how we got our openings and how we were able to survive Meralco in this series," Guiao said.
Rain or Shine will face league-leader Talk 'N Text in the semifinals.