Mar 14, 2019

E-Painters, Bolts figure in crucial duel

Rain or Shine, stalled in its last two games, seeks to finally get going again, gunning for an 8-3 (win-loss) closing card in the PBA Philippine Cup eliminations as the Elasto Painters tangle with the Meralco Bolts at the Cuneta Astrodome Friday.

The Elasto Painters and the Bolts lock horns at 7 p.m. in a critical match where coach Caloy Garcia and his troops take their last shot at having a good crack at a twice-to-beat incentive in the quarterfinals.

Coach Norman Black and his Meralco chargers, meanwhile, hope to take another step towards claiming a quarters berth.

Heading to their last three games, the Bolts are on the fringes of the Top Eight with just three wins against five losses.

The E-Painters are at second place at 7-3, but they need to check their two-game slide for a shot at the win-once bonus. Breathing down their neck are the San Miguel Beermen at 6-3, the TNT KaTropa at 5-3 and the Barangay Ginebra Kings at 4-3.

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If they beat the Bolts, the E-Painters would have a strong chance at finishing in the Top Two with a superior quotient in case of a tie.

Rain or Shine has beat Phoenix, San Miguel and Ginebra. TNT is the lone Top Two contender that won over ROS.

But the Bolts are likely to present a tough challenge.

The Bolts pumped life on their sagging playoff bid on a 126-123 double-overtime win over the NorthPort Batang Pier last week.

Considered goners with a six-point deficit with 30.1 seconds to go in regulation, the Bolts pulled an amazing trick to steal the game.

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The Bolts rose from the dead late in regulation and also came from behind in the first extension play before finally seizing control in the second OT to secure the win.

"There was really a time when it was dim for us, but then we executed some plays and gave us a chance to win it in overtime," said the Meralco coach.

"That's a hard-fought game between two teams fighting to stay in the running for the playoffs, especially us. I'm happy we never gave up," Black also said. (SB)