This time, Rain or Shine made the important free throws when the game was on the line.
The Elasto Painters made 10 of their last 11 free throws in less than four minutes, including five in the last 37.6 seconds, to survive a gritty Meralco Bolts squad, 81-77, in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum Friday night.
Paul Lee made three free throws, including a technical foul shot called against Asi Taulava for for an illegal timeout, while Gabe Norwood made two charities of his own as the Elasto Painters got back on the winning track by securing their fifth win in six matches.
In taking win No. 5, Rain or Shine also got an automatic seat in the semifinal round, joining B-Meg Llamados on top of the standings. The Elasto Painters and the Llamados carry the same 5-1 win-loss card.
“Our guys are just maturing. For a young team, We were able to close out hard games and I’m happy with the way we’re handling pressure in close games,” said Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao.
“Paul Lee gave us a lift, the leadership and control in the endgame. We survived our free throws. Those free throws are important in winning close games.”
Before going 10-of-11 in the last 3:53, the Elasto Painters was just 29-of-43 from the line for a 67.4% clip.
RAIN OR SHINE 81 – Cornley 21, Lee 16, Norwood 10, Cruz 6, Chan 6, Quinahan 6, Buenafe 6, Matias 4, Jaime 4, Ibanes 2, Tang 0, Belga 0.
MERALCO 77 – West 23, Taulava 15, Cardona 12, Mercado 9, Bulawan 6, Hugnatan 6, Ross 3, Reyes 3, Macapagal 0, Artadi 0.
Quarters: 18-17, 32-35, 59-59, 81-77
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